I write a lot about our Primal Living MeetUp group in St. Louis. I found it soon after it started and it only had a few members. In just a little over two years, we are 442 members strong. Not all members are active, of course but we have a great community that people are free to take part in when they have the time. I joined to find a little bit of support for all the new changes in my life, but I ended up making a nice little group of friends and have made some interesting connections with other people that are just as passionate about their health & well-being.
I have also just begun to start a MeetUp group in Southwest Missouri. I haven’t been able to pursue or be as active in that one as I would like, yet. It is pretty incredible that when you start looking around for resources, you suddenly realize that they are all around you. In a short period of time I have made several connections & set up a bit of a support system for someone that was looking to find some Paleo friends, practitioners or source Paleo food.
On Facebook today, I had a request for help in finding a Paleo group in a geographic area that was not anywhere near mine. I was able to help fulfill that person’s request, but I thought it might be a good blog topic.
1. MeetUp – Our group is organized through MeetUp.com. Go there, type in your zip code and do a search. You may want to include other search terms that are similar to Paleo or Primal, including gluten-free, whole foods, Weston A. Price Foundation or MovNat.
2. Food Lover’s Primal Palate Paleo By City Forum – The Food Lover’s have a great forum set up that the members have contributed information to. See if you can find your city there. You should be able to find restaurant listings, grocery stores, farmer’s markets & etc…
3. CrossFit box – Check out the websites of the CrossFit boxes in your area and see if they place any emphasis on nutrition. If they do, it is likely to be Paleo. In my experience, there will be a trainer or two that is passionate about it. They might be a good resource for you.
4. Paleo/Primal Web Forums – Check out the forums on some of the Paleo/Primal websites that you like to follow. (Robb Wolf, Mark’s Daily Apple, Paleohacks) Post a question, take a look at where everyone is from. The initial handful of people that started our MeetUp group first “met” through interactions on these websites. They then made plans to meet somewhere & went forward with the MeetUp group.
5. Reach out to Paleo bloggers – Do you have a favorite Paleo blogger that has a decent size audience? Ask them if they would do a shout-out for you, looking for resources in your area. Most Paleo bloggers are very willing to help!
6.Yelp – I use Yelp to find new restaurants and kid’s activities, especially when traveling. Use Yelp to search for keywords such as “Paleo” or “Gluten Free” and see what comes up in your area.
If none of these ideas work for you, maybe it is time for you to get a community started!
If you have additional ways to get a community started, please let me know on FB or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Biscuits and Gravy is easily one of my most missed foods since going Gluten Free/Paleo. Long ago, I bookmarked the recipe in Paleo Comfort Foods for Biscuits and Gravy, but I just hadn’t ever gotten around to making them. Somehow, I had got it in my head that it would be quite a process. Last week, Juli over at PaleOMG posted her version of Bs&Gs and it started up those cravings again.
Ultimately, I ended up using a couple of different recipes for inspiration and then doing my own thing. (Adding a bag of baby greens to the sausage gravy was a yummy addition, but feel free to leave it out if you aren’t as veggie loving as we are.)
I used the biscuit recipe right out of Paleo Comfort foods (Basic Biscuits, p.108). I don’t feel comfortable sharing it, as the Paleo Comfort Foods folks haven’t share it on their website, but I found two websites that give the recipe here & here. These biscuits turned out nicely, but I am not finished searching for a good paleo biscuit recipe. There are a few others I would like to try:
You know my picky eater? This is what her plate looked like:
It only took me a few minutes to cook a few patties so that she could eat her sausage separately She also packed it in her lunch the next day. I hated gravy as a kid, too. She will soon enough learn the error in her ways!
Permission to use the image above from The Paleo Mom.
Some of you may be familiar with people following a modified Paleo diet that is referred to as the Auto Immune Paleo (AIP) diet/protocol/plan. It is Paleo with even more restrictions for those who may be dealing with serious medical conditions or working on healing up a leaky gut. I have a bit of experience with this elimination protocol and it is not a lot of fun! However, I experienced even more healing and was able to identify a couple more significant food intolerances (TOMATOES!).
I do not claim to be any kind of expert in this area, but I wanted to compile a comprehensive list of resources for those who are trying to follow AIP. It is very restrictive and can make meal planning a challenge. In this post, I will give a quick summary of what the AIP involves and some of the blogs, podcasts, articles, recipe sites and FB pages that I have found useful.
“It is vitally important to adhere to a strict paleo diet with no cheating. While other people may be able to enjoy the occasional bowl of rice, if you suffer from an autoimmune condition you are not one of these people. Grains and legumes should never be consumed. Dairy of any kind (even grass-fed ghee which can still have trace lactose and dairy proteins!) should be avoided initially (most people will not be able to successfully reintroduce dairy, although some will be okay with grass-fed butter and ghee). This may be true for the rest of your life. In addition, if you have an autoimmune condition, you should completely avoid:
The reason is that each of these causes gut irritation and/or increased gut permeability (and in the super sensitive gut of those with autoimmune conditions, they just aren’t tolerated). “
In my humble opinion, this protocol is a challenge, but can be very rewarding for someone with a serious auto-immune condition. If you aren’t under the supervision of a doctor, or are looking for a doctor to support you on your path to wellness, try looking in your geographical area for a physician practicing “Functional Medicine.” I was lucky to find a Dr. at Wellness Alternatives of St. Louis that helped me immensely and I have never felt better.
Personal Paleo Code from Chris Kresser
There is a cost associated, but it is minimal. This service lets you plug in what ingredients you can not eat, and then provides you with Paleo recipes that only use allowable ingredients.
Paleo Parents – Stacy Toth
Stacy has very descriptively shared her personal journey with the AIP. The good, the bad & the ugly. She also hosts a podcast, The Paleo View, along with Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom — see below). The recipes, blog posts and podcasts that are AIP specific can be found by clicking the autoimmune tag.
The Paleo Mom – Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.
I have consulted this site several times. I enjoy writing style of this “scientist-turned-stay-at-home-mom.” There is an Autoimmunity tab across the top of the page to get you to the specific posts regarding AIP. You can also select AIP – friendly as a category in the drop-down of the Recipe tab. Co-host of The Paleo View. Also, her book, The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body, is available for pre-order and will be released in September 2013.
Balanced Bites – Diane Sanfilippo
The website Balanced Bites needs to be one of your go-to references for all things Paleo. As is her book, Practical Paleo. In Practical Paleo, Diane has a section devoted specifically to the AIP and has recipes that are AIP friendly. An e-book is in the works for even more AIP recipes as the response to that section of Practical Paleo was quite overwhelming. Click on the link here to stay informed of that publication.
“For four years, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis confined Dr. Terry Wahls to a tilt-recline wheelchair. But by using Functional Medicine to create the Wahls Protocol™, Dr. Wahls has transformed her health and body: now she walks easily without a cane and commutes by bicycle. Dr. Wahls uses these diets and protocols in her primary care and traumatic brain injury clinics and is leading a clinical trial to test her protocols on others.” Dr. Wahl’s site also has links to several videos that are helpful, including her very popular TEDTalk.
I try to be comprehensive, but I always miss things. If you know of another great resource for someone challenged by the AIP protocol, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback!
In the last few months I have become reacquainted with ALDI. Anytime that I have lived anywhere near a store, I have utilized it for a pretty decent produce selection and great prices. If you don’t mind having to bring a quarter to get your cart, bringing your own bags & picking up boxes while shopping so that you can bag your own groceries, it really is a pretty decent shopping experience. (I found it really interesting that ALDI is a “sister company” to Trader Joe’s!)
Along my journey of eating “clean,” gluten-free & now Paleo, I have shopped at ALDI less and less, but also because I don’t live or work near one.
I spent some time in January prepping for a Paleo workshop in my rural hometown. I knew it would be a waste of time unless I was familiar with what my friends and family could access in town. I went shopping at WalMart, the local grocery store, the local health food store & ALDI. I was pleasantly surprised with the clear Gluten-Free labeling that ALDI offers.
(Take note: If you want to act as the “Paleo Police,” please go to another site. The meats are not pastured & grass-fed, there is no organic & I have some snack foods at the end of the list.)
I am going to share a few pictures of my ALDI shopping trip. Keep in mind that (just like any other grocery store) you have to watch for a few things:
Special considerations at ALDI:
I find the ingredients to be very similar to a much more expensive brand of fruit ropes/twists that I buy for my picky eater. She loves these!
Watch the ingredients closely. The salmon had a “clean” label, but none of the tuna did.
Make sure that you buy the “Natural Applesauce,” because the other applesauce contains HFCS. Nobody really likes to eat applesauce at my house, but I like to buy it in these small containers so that when I run across the occasional baking recipe that uses it, I have it on hand. No waste.
Produce! Great selection, although it varies from trip to trip.
These little chocolate bars are some of my husband’s favorite and he has a habit of picking up chocolate bars wherever he is and bringing them home for me. Sweet, huh? Sometimes he brings home some pretty expensive stuff and in all honesty, he likes these better. They do contain soy lecithin as an ingredient, but so do most of the really nice chocolate bars. It is one of those things I don’t get too tripped up about.
I have also seen the Green & Black’s chocolate bar as a special buy for $2.49, but it isn’t always there.
What? This isn’t PALEO! In the spirit of “keeping it real,” I thought I would show you the items we keep on hand for when we have guests over or need to take something to a party. I also let the kids snack on these gluten-free “treats” from time to time. Worse things have happened.
If you have any other tips for shopping at ALDI, please comment on FB or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to improve my posts so that they are of maximum benefit to my readers! Thank you!
Some people like to meal plan ahead for a week or two at a time. I have friends that are able to plan ahead by 1 month. Everybody has an approach that works best for their family, personal food preferences, amount they like to cook, opportunities to get to the grocery store due to budget or location/schedule & how often they will be eating at home. I prefer to plan out for 3-4 days ahead of time. Anything more than that and I lose interest in what I have planned or I change my mind. I always have pantry staples so that I can make several quick meals to round out the week.
1) Buy or thaw out some proteins. Thinking ahead 3-4 days works best for me, any more than that there is a chance I will waste meat by letting it sit too long. I try to pick some chicken, some beef, some pork & some fish so that we get a lot of variation. At least one of those I plan to turn into a large recipe so that there are plenty of leftovers (for example: chili, pork shoulder, whole chicken)
2) Kid’s lunches:
This is not a “perfectly Paleo” list. This is my compromise with them for having a good attitude about Paleo, something crunchy like Sweet Potato chips in their lunch. My daughter usually just wants her refillable bottle of water, but it is still important to my son to have a “juice box” like the other kids. (He requests kale each morning for breakfast, a juice box isn’t going to hurt him.”
3) I buy these items each week:
These are our must haves, I can make a lot of meals and side dishes out of these.
Also, depending on season & prices:
4) I make a jar of 3 Minute Mayo & a jar of homemade salad dressing each week. Besides being great on a burger, you can make a very quick chicken/tuna/salmon salad if you have homemade mayo on hand.
5) I make toasted coconut flakes at least once a week, usually seasoned with salt & cinnamon. I usually bake 1-2 different Paleo-ish baked goods for my kids & hubby to snack on. Usually a muffin, a paleo bread, crackers, cookies or brownies. I favor almond flour, but am always experimenting with coconut flour so the snacks are able to school in lunches (nut-free schools). I am currently experimenting with ground raw sunflower seed powder as a one-for-one substitute for almond flour. Keep an eye on my blog for how that is going. (Idea from Paleo Parents & Fresh4Five)
6)I check my pantry and make sure that it is stocked. I always have:
7) My Everything-Went-Wrong-Day backup plan is a gluten-free pizza for the kids. I usually either have the pizza in the freezer (Udi’s brand) or just the crusts to be topped with some clean tomato sauce, cheese & veggies. I also keep a couple of Paleo freezer meals on hand for those kind of nights. (I order from Feed Your Vitality here in STL.)
8) Prepping your veggies ahead of time is a huge advantage. Bake several sweet potatoes at once in the oven or the Crock Pot. Turn your zuchinni, sweet potato, carrots into “ribbons” or “noodles” ahead of time. Chop/dice your squash, sweet potato, beets, parsnips, turnips & parsnips ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready. Stick a spaghetti squash in the microwave for 6 minutes or so & shred out the “noodles.” Seal them up in a container till you are ready for them and finish cooking in a saucepan.
9) Don’t feel like you have to prepare a masterpiece each week. We eat burgers and sweet potato fries each and every week. We usually have chicken legs every week. It is easy and the kids love them, so we just keep coming back to it!
10) Try to prep ahead for breakfasts. I sometimes make bacon, sausage, or burgers ahead of time so they are ready in the fridge. Put together an egg casserole or egg muffins. Make a bunch of Paleo pancakes, or muffins to keep in the fridge. You can assemble a pretty great breakfast in the same time it takes to pour a bowl of cereal if you have things ready and on hand. Add some fruit or veggies & dip.
This is another one of those blog posts where I try to make up for FB’s silly policies that only allow about 25% of my followers to see any given post. This is just a compilation of Instagram posts & interesting articles I have read over the last few weeks. Quite a jumble of thoughts and topics, but gives a nice little window into what living Paleo looks like for our little family.
Pictured above is a weeknight dinner of 50/50 Bacon Burgers, avocado, homemade mayo & salad. We attempted to make Sweet Potato Fries out of some big, beautiful purple sweet potatoes and they were TERRIBLE! (see below)
They were beautiful & I followed our usual recipe from Paleo Indulgences, but they were just way too starchy for us. They actually got worse the longer you chewed them. A bit of a Paleo Fail, but we all got a good chuckle out of it.
It really doesn’t get easier than a filet of frozen fish (I believe this is Mahi Mahi from Costco) seasoned and baked in our Super Wave Oven. A quick salad was put together, but I did get a little fancy with the dressing. Made a dressing out of dried figs, coconut milk and a fig chili vinegar from Vom Fass. Yum!
Leftover fish, homemade mayo, leftover green beans, fried eggs & blackberries makes for a pretty simple breakfast. Anytime you prepare protein for dinner, make sure to throw in an extra serving or two and you will always have a base for breakfast. Planned leftovers is VERY PALEO!
Showing off the new bookends I got for Christmas! My sister and I have a matching set. They look good with my Paleo cookbook collection. Someone on Instagram asked “Which is your favorite?” I would have to say Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan.
Since my nightshade free experiment, I have discovered that I am allergic to tomatoes. I have an almost immediate skin reaction that lasts for days, so they are not worth it. Did another little experiment and replaced the tomatoes in my chili recipe with pureed beets and had excellent results! Made a double batch of chili and had leftovers for a few days. The hubby couldn’t even tell it wasn’t tomatoes until I told him. My son gobbled it up and could give a flip what was in it.
Basically I took beets (canned) and used my stick blender to puree them into gluten-free beef broth so that I had enough to replace the tomatoes in the Chocolate Chili recipe. (Recipe can be found in Well Fed, also)
Our Thursday night meet ups at HotPot Smoothie Shop are going so well. We are regularly pulling 20-25 people in to chat, ask questions and share resources. Also just a lot of sitting around and getting to know each other. Each week we have at least 2 or 3 new folks to the group. Always awesome to hear how Paleo is changing lives and how people enjoy finding folks that share the lifestyle. We are so lucky that Chef Greg at HotPot keeps coming up with Paleo creations! This Chicken Pot Pie was topped with a cauliflower & almond crunchy crust.
One of my original recipe creations that we made out of chicken legs. Those are my son’s fave food! Served it with cauliflower rice & green beans with a spicy almond dressing that I made out of Paleo Power Lunches.
The hubby came home from skiing and was HUNGRY. We put this quick salad together while his pork chop was cooking in the Superwave oven. A ceramic peeler made the carrot ribbons and the dressing was a simple balsamic vinegar/olive oil combo with some Italian seasoning mixed in. I love using small glass jars to throw together a quick dressing. I usually just wing it and taste.
A bit of a collaboration. The hubby had the broccoli and mushrooms sauteing with some garlic in the skillet. He looked a bit confused. I asked him what he planned on doing with it and he didn’t know. I removed the mostly cooked veggies to a bowl and covered to keep warm. I added about 1/2 a can of coconut milk & a Tbsp of Dijon mustard to the skillet and cooked it down till it thickened, then added the veggies back in. Kept it warm until the pork chop was done. Voila! Cream sauce that needs no thickeners and reminded him of one of his favorite Italian dishes. You can find a similar recipe from my blog here. Adding the Dijon really masks any “coconut flavor” that might come through in the sauce. Try it!
Sausage, eggs & spinach. Always a winning breakfast!
A little experiment into “Cashew Chicken,” only we were using wild turkey from my brother in law. I might tweak the recipe a bit next time, but I used these two recipes to get to my final product. Martha Stewart’s Cashew Chicken & Cavegirl in the Kitchen’s Paleo substitute for hoisin sauce.
I made a double batch of these Gluten Free Green Chili burgers from Elana’s Pantry on a suggestion from a friend (and blog follower). They were really yummy. A really simple & inexpensive prep for a week of Paleo is to make 2 or 3 lbs of grass-fed beef burgers ahead of time. They go with breakfast, lunch or dinner. My kids enjoy them as a snack. You can also grab and go if you are in a hurry. It isn’t glamorous, but it works!
Wholly Guacamole is another one of my shortcuts for getting Paleo done right. Nice clean ingredient list and more affordable that avocados this time of year. Plus, you always know it is good. Nothing worse than looking forward to eating and avocado and you find the one you have is too far gone!
I put together this little quick tip for my Instagram page and it got picked up on Facebook by the page Just Eat Real Food and went a bit viral. Landed a few new followers. Using a sifter makes a really big difference in your baking recipes. Gets all the lumps and bumps out of coconut flour and cocoa powder. Also helps to get your baking soda and salt distributed evenly. Plus, the kids think it is a lot of fun. I usually just set the sifter right into the bowl & measure the ingredients into the sifter.
This is an example of one of the dinners that I make right on the baking sheets. Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs from Balanced Bites. Roasted Cauliflower drizzled with EVOO & sprinkled with Bouquet Garni & salt.
(Sorry folks, the pics below uploaded smaller & I didn’t want to take the time to go back and do it again)
This was an experiment and needs a bit of tweaking but was quite delicious. Tried this on a tip from my friend Leora, who made hers in a CrockPot. My Crock Pot is cracked, so until I order a new crock, I made mine on the stovetop. Chicken thighs, broth, cauliflower, dried apricots and prunes.
Quick breakfast: greens topped with taco meat, a fried egg & shredded cheese. I really like buying the Organic Girl brand of greens in the clear carton. They seem to last me a really long time, so I find it to be worth the more expensive price. I don’t always eat cheese, but we had it and I was out of guacamole!
I am in the wrong age group to be taking pictures of myself. It just doesn’t come natural. Maybe if I were 1/2 my age I would be better at it? Anyhow, trying to accumulate some pics so I can write a blog post with my reviews of Red Apple Lipstick. A gluten/soy/other yucky stuff free cosmetics company. So far I am loving it! Beautiful colors and they “wear” really nicely. Looking forward to many purchases from them for years to come!
Love these things for an occasional treat. Have enjoyed the Ginger & Chocolate ones, but a few of the other flavors were pretty “Blah!”
I let my boy pick out what we made for lunch one day and he chose lamb kebobs. A Paleo Mama can’ t say no to that. He loves anything on a stick.
We also made sweet potato noodles using our ceramic peeler & just sauteed them in coconut oil, cinnamon & salt. We used a jar of commercial mango chutney for dipping sauce for the kebobs. There was some added sugar, but we weren’t using much. I don’t have time to be making chutney on the fly!
Another amazing creation from HotPot Smoothie Shop! The Caveman Bowl is 4 big meatballs served over spaghetti squash & then covered with homemade marinara & veggies of choice. Tomato allergy here, so I skipped the marinara and they gave me some garlic chili sauce that is one of the options for the bowls. Yeah, this place is only 4 blocks from me. So. Lucky!
Our Costco finally got coconut oil in stock. $16 for 54 oz. Carrington Farms brand. Bought a jar for everyone in my life at those prices! LOL.
My handsome 7 year old nephew killed his first deer & I was able to make some deer jerky out of it using my Christmas gift dehydrator! My brother in law, Daren, is the creator/designer/owner of his own camo, Timbertec Camouflage. I kind of think that people that follow their dreams are awesome! He happens to be very talented along with being a very hard worker. We need more guys like him in this world!
Going Paleo: Grain-free diet stirs controversy, but family says they feel better from The Daily News Journal
Nice article on a family going Paleo and exactly how they handle food prep, dining out & what new things they bought for their kitchen. Don’t agree that Paleo is “lacking Vit D and calcium.” That might be true for some, but not true for others. People that eat a standard diet could be lacking those two things, as well.
Why our Food Is Making Us Fat from The Liberty Crier (via Robb Wolf)
History, politics, Nixon, food subsidies, HFCS, Coca Cola…it is all in there.
Bob Harper: “I Drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid” from Huffington Post
I am a fan of both Bob Harper & CrossFit and I was glad to see him publicly sharing exactly why CrossFit has become so important to him after 20 years in the fitness industry. The comments on the article (why do I read those, anyhow?) were overwhelmingly negative towards CrossFit. I think that I have been very fortunate that all my experiences with trainers and a couple of different boxes have been positive. My trainer is simply amazing at what he does. I have never come close to getting hurt & always feel encouraged during workouts. I have been pushed beyond what I thought I could do, but never too far. I typically workout with people that are younger than me & in better shape than me. Sometimes I am the only female in the group. Always a great experience. I think that as with anything, you can find a “lemon.” Just because you get one bad haircut doesn’t mean you would never get your haircut again, right? You would just find a different barber/stylist. Same with a mechanic or a meal at a restaurant. Trainers and gyms/boxes are not equal, find one that fits YOU.
Slim Is Simple.org Video
12 minutes of a very fast-moving, easy to understand, graphic heavy video that explains nearly everything you need to know about why a “Paleo” diet is the optimal way for your body to function. Full of research, facts & statistics without being boring. Doesn’t mention “Paleo” even one time! A perfect video to pass along to your family and friends! (A FB follower said the book is great, too!)
A 71 year old grandmother, Gerry, completes her first Whole30 challenge while on a Social Security budget. Feels great, able to reduce medications, sharing it with her family and friends. Makes me feel like a wuss for not having finished a Whole30 yet! Inspiring read and goes to show you that it is NEVER TOO LATE to improve your health.
The Power of a Diet Change from The Dirty Floor Diaries
I have just been loving the blog The Dirty Floor Diaries. Her post on weight loss, eliminating migraines and the nitty gritty of her health changes is extremely inspiring. This blog is extremely easy to relate to. This woman is your friend. Read it!
Panera has a “Hidden Menu” that is perfect for us Paleo folks, but you have to know to ask for it. Check out the menu and go meet your non-Paleo friends for lunch. Skip the 99cent bakery treat they will offer you with a purchase of a meal. :)
The Boy With a Thorn in His Joints from The New York Times
This one might be a tear jerker. The story of a Mother trying to defeat her son’s Juvenile Arthritis with a combo of diet & meds. Inspiring and accurate portrayal of trying to do your best & work with doctors who may or may not support your alternative treatments. I wish this was required reading for all parents!
Feeding My Little Omnivores from The Foodie & The Family
If you are struggling feeding your little ones Paleo, you aren’t the only one. Duh! Always good to know you have company in your struggles.
Healthy Eating…Expensive? 10 Tips to Take to the Grocery Store from Paleo Mom on the Run
Exactly as the title implies, some very practical tips. And this Paleo Mama is feeding active teenagers.
10 Signs You are Gluten Intolerant from Mind Body Green
I was 8 for 10! Gah! And it took 31 years for me to figure this out? And I figured it out without the help of a doctor!
Image above from What’s Wrong with Legumes? from Easy Paleo
The exclusion of legumes in the Paleo approach is probably one of the top 3 topics that I receive a lot of questions, skeptical looks and outright criticisms of. (The other 2 being the omission of grains & liberal use of fats in the diet, especially animal fats.)
Just to clarify, legumes are beans & peanuts.
These are both foods that I previously enjoyed before going Paleo. I mean, who doesn’t love peanut butter? Also, I am from Missouri and George Washington Carver is one of our state heroes and a part of our state history. Sometimes credited with the invention of peanut butter, but legitimately found 300+ uses for peanuts. How could our beloved peanuts be bad for us?
Beans were also one of my favorite foods, I loved all the different varieties. Butter beans, black beans, refried beans, beans & cornbread…OMG. Now I am really starting to get nostalgic One of my favorite pre-Paleo recipe creations was a really amazing Smoky BBQ Chili that had 3 or 4 different kinds of beans in it. Also, a lot of people out there rely on beans as an inexpensive food to sustain their family. My great-uncle was just telling me that he probably ate beans everyday of his life growing up with a big farm family.
Nearly any dietitian or conventional wisdom based health article will tell you that beans are an excellent source of fiber & protein that spare you the fat & the calories of meat. We should be increasing them in our diets. Even planning meat-less meals, using beans as a substitute. My 1st grade daughter recently brought home a nutrition handout from school that promoted peanut butter & beans as good sources of protein.
This is simply one of those areas of the Paleo diet that is in direct opposition to conventional dietary advice.
So, why no beans? Why no peanuts? If you are thinking about this as you visualize cavemen hunting and gathering, beans require A LOT of preparation (soaking and extensive cooking) to be edible. If you aren’t into the whole caveman thing then consider this:
Read more from the Whole9 crew in The Legume Manifesto.
It was really hard for me to give up beans. They were a food that I enjoyed and considered “healthy.” It was so easy for me to give up gluten and soy, because I had such a skin reaction when I did eat them. I didn’t have that experience with beans, so I still “wanted” them, from time to time. After a few months of pretty strict Paleo, I decided to indulge in some yummy hummus at a Middle Eastern restaurant and I ENJOYED. EVERY. BITE. A few hours later I was sleeping in the spare room because I was too embarrassed to sleep in the same room as my hubby! Yep. You know what I am talking about. I was lying in bed till 2 AM, unable to sleep. Not worth it.
Growing up, we even seemed to know that beans weren’t going to agree with us. They have their own song:
So, enjoy a quieter digestive system without your beans. And with peanut allergies at an all time high, with very serious risks and complications, replacing peanuts & peanut butter seems to be a great idea. My kids have no issues with peanuts, but attend nut-free schools and have classmates with severe allergies.
Fortunately, all kinds of nut butters are available in regular grocery stores and even more options in specialty markets. With a good food processor you can pretty easily make your own! Using nuts besides peanuts is a little more expensive, but still affordable and full of nutrition. (You know, the kind of nutrition that your body can actually absorb!) We use almond butter & sunflower seed butter regularly for snacks and in recipes.
Beans are more difficult to “replace,” but you can have meat, so that is even better, right? I have modified my chili and now it is delicious. Even without beans. And when I have cooked it for a (non-Paleo) group, no one has ever yelled out in horror “Where are the beans?”
But, if you are a person, like me, that is missing hummus …
Paleo & kids. How does it work? It can work, but I think it is about 1000 times harder than if you are a single, Cross-fitting, 20-something. One of the reasons I started blogging, about 1 1/2 years ago, was because very few of the Paleo/Primal resources I was using seemed to have families in mind. I loved the blogs, websites and recipes, but they just didn’t seem to “speak to” my situation. Things have changed a lot in the last couple of years though and there are now lots of incredible, informative resources out there for you and your family. I can’t wait to share them with you in this post! I am really excited that some of the big names in Paleo (Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig) are beginning their journeys into parenthood and I am sure some amazing resources will result! My plan for this post is to:
When I first went Paleo, I had already been on a path of “Clean Eating”. (Few processed foods, rare fast food visits, careful reading of labels, varied whole grains, more veggies & fruits, etc…) I had very healthy pregnancies, deliveries & breastfeeding experiences. Baby #1 was healthy as a horse. Never sick. Then, quickly along came Baby #2 and was he a whole different story. My boy was practically born with an ear infection. He was an excellent nurser and a great eater, but he had an ear infection every 3 weeks until 7 months. Trip after trip to the Dr, where we were given antibiotics over and over. To the point at 7 months when the meds were so strong, he couldn’t even keep them down. We were told our only option was tubes in the ears. I had been reading and researching like crazy & decided to go dairy-free (He & I, because of the breastfeeding). Within days, the congestion was gone and never an ear infection again. After a few months, we tried reintroducing a little yogurt here, some cheese there and no ill effects. Straight milk, however immediately resulted in a little bit of congestion or his actual ears turning bright red for a few minutes. We weren’t quite ready to go Paleo, but you could say that this was our first adventure into looking at specific foods as a trigger for medical, health and behavioral issues. (Grapes/grape juice or any artificial coloring would turn this kid UPSIDE DOWN within 15 minutes.)
So, a year or so later when this Mama was struggling so much with her own issues, I was open-minded about eliminating specific foods to see if I noticed a difference. I never thought the path would lead us here, but it did. I am lucky that my kids were already used to eating healthier than the average kid. However, what I wouldn’t give to have been Paleo a little earlier. Just like many of you out there, my kids are “transition” kids. They have had some of the ‘good stuff’, and they know how light, fluffy & sweet it is! I also have quite the range. My daughter is a VERY PICKY eater, but my little guy will eat ANYTHING! (I also do not claim to be “Perfectly Paleo” at anytime. My kids are 80-90%, but with my damaged stomach, I don’t have that kind of wiggle room.)
The Godmother of Paleo. A personal friend of Robb Wolf, she had the first blog, the first cookbook, the first everything. And it is all good stuff. I highly suggest that you get both of her cookbooks and not just for the recipes. Her personal story is very motivating. At the same time, she gives excellent advice on time management, exercising & how to spend family time in meaningful ways. While two of her children were young when she “went Paleo,” she also had a teenager that was difficult to transition. She shares the story in the cookbooks & blog. Great visuals in her first book on how to workout with your kids at home. They are essentials in a Paleo library! She also has an informative & fun FREE podcast, Paleo Talk, with Chrissy Gower (see below) that covers all parts of being Paleo that is geared towards women and mothers.
Chrissy Gower’s cookbook is really great for a couple of reasons. First, the introduction explaining her personal path to Paleo and her challenge in cooking for a husband that is a very picky eater is a lot of fun to read. Robb Wolf is Chrissy’s brother-in-law. However, she didn’t run to Paleo with open arms. Second, the recipes really are delicious & SIMPLE. These recipes do not require a lot of fancy ingredients & as you can gather from the title are primarily CrockPot cooking. If you don’t consider yourself much of a cook, check out her cookbook & website. Simple ingredients and simple recipes with an emphasis on flavor. She has learned to cook for a picky eater and you can tell with this book. She is also a very integral part of the Paleo Talk podcast & might be one of the first bloggers I have run across to really detail a Paleo pregnancy. She loves using Penzey’s spice blends, just like I do, but is kind enough to develop spice blend recipes to mimic Penzey’s for her readers.
Paleo Parents (Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten Free Kids, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect The Whole Hog) – Matthew McCarry & Stacy Toth
These folks are a powerhouse of information when it comes to Paleo & kids. They transitioned 3 kids to Paleo while losing a combined total weight of 200 lbs. In the meanwhile, they solved a bunch of health & behavior issues with the kids. All while writing a very in-depth and visually stunning blog, working full time jobs (he is a stay at home dad, she works outside the home) & putting together the 1st Paleo kids cookbook. There really isn’t a thing that they aren’t willing to share about their journey & struggles with Paleo. (Everything from loose skin, entertaining vegan relatives, packing Paleo lunches for a nut-free school & how Paleo affects your sex drive.) This is one of my go-to sites for baking recipes! You will love them for their Pumpkin Pucks & Easy Peasy Pancakes, alone! Although they have LOTS of other great stuff! I am really looking forward to their Beyond Bacon book which is available for pre-order now. (Just click the link above.) Stacy also co-hosts a FREE podcast with…
The Paleo Mom – (The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body) -Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.
Direct from the blog: “The Paleo Mom is a scientist turned stay-at-home mom who shares recipes, explains the science behind the paleo diet and its modifications, and blogs about the challenges of raising a paleo family.” This is a SMART blog, but don’t think it won’t be full of everyday ideas. Sarah has everything covered and then some. Her personal story (120 lb weight loss, health & healing) is remarkable and worth a look. She is also an expert on the Auto Immune Paleo protocol (AIP). When adopting a paleo diet isn’t enough to take care of some intense health issues, this is the route to take and she is one of the best resources for those following it. Sarah collaborates with Stacy on The Paleo View, another FREE podcast that is full of information geared towards women & families.
This is one of my favorite blogs. I think sometimes that i read it and check in just for motivation to be a better person! Shanti is married to Superman, as she lovingly refers to him, and he, like me, is a late in life celiac diagnosis. So their path to Paleo is spurred by his health journey, but as usual everyone benefits. They have 5 kids, age 10 and under. She is a stay at home, homeschooling Mama & he is a high school teacher. Now you are starting to understand the title of their blog! Now, what is your excuse for not doing Paleo again? It’s too hard? —This a very warm, inviting and motivating blog that isn’t super-polished. She is a real wife and mom and it comes across it each post. Another great feature that she offers is very detailed 30 Day At Home CrossFit Challenge Workouts. If you don’t have a CrossFit box near you, or the expense of a membership is a problem, she has you covered.
This is my Go-T0 resource for anything related to baking. Her recipes are foolproof. Although she began as gluten-free, she has evolved to Paleo and her recipes are very easy to follow. I have made substitutions for various oils to coconut oil & sweeteners to maple syrup/honey with no issues. Looking forward to the newest cookbook.The cookbooks are wonderful, but an extensive amount of recipes are available on her blog, for FREE! The Chocolate Cupcakes have passed the non-Paleo test at several parties & the Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies have been winners everywhere I have taken them. Cooking has trial and error opportunities, baking does not. Save yourself money, time & energy by following recipes by an experienced baker!
Paleo Non Paleo -Alison Golden
I love Paleo Non Paleo! Alison is one of the few people out there that are writing about how difficult it is to be Paleo when you don’t know ANYONE ELSE that is following the lifestyle. She also chronicles specifics on how she has dealt with her own health issues. She has a real gift for breaking the problems down and is honest about how her family handles them. You will find a friend in Alison as you read her posts about family, kids, jumping hurdles and dealing with all life’s little surprises. She happens to score really great interviews with some of the big names in Paleo, as well. Read Top Paleo Bloggers: Their Best Tips and Nighttime Reads.
3 Diets One Dinner - Brittanie Duncan
I stumbled upon this site through Facebook. The title caught my eye: Brittanie is Paleo, her husband and kid are not. Her blog posts & yummy looking recipes can give you some ideas on how to handle a family, when not everyone is following the same dietary plan that you are. Check out Spaghetti Night. She has a really great post if you are interested in The Paleo Diet for Weight Loss.
Nom Nom Paleo is the blog for you if you love yummy food and lovely food photography. She is a foodie, that just happens to be Paleo. In collaboration with her husband (Fit Bomb), she has created a really beautiful site that has one several awards for photography and content. Not just “best of” the Paleo community, the entire food blogging community! She also manages to crank out a lot of delicious food while raising two boys and working night shifts. This blog is beautiful, mouth-watering, entertaining and real. A great place to stop and figure out how to cook with a pressure cooker or a sous vide. There is no cookbook available, but they created an app for iPad that not only features recipes, but step by step cooking processes and TONS of pictures. I don’t have it (we don’t have an iPad), but all reviews seem to think it is the BOMB. Personally, I can vouch for her Slow Cooker Lemongrass & Coconut Chicken Drumsticks & Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. Michelle also did an extensive blog series on packing Paleo lunches which is another must read.
Whole Family Strong – Brandon & Jacque
Some blog readers sent me to this site and I have just been blown away by the great content. Jacque is a homeschooling stay at home mom to 3 (and another on the way) young children. Everything is covered here including transitioning to Paleo, how Paleo affects her son’s Type 1 Diabetes, spirituality and relationship with Jesus Christ, finance, time management & of course it covers all her cooking. Written in preparation for the new baby, the post on Healthy Freezer Meals should be appealing to any family. Real Food Munchies & 12 Tips for Pinching Your Paleo Pennies are other must reads for your family!
I found this site when looking for posts on packing lunches. Getting Your Family’s Buy-In for Real Food Lunches is a post that everyone, Paleo/Primal or not should read. There are literally hundreds of pictures of lunches that the blogger is packing for her young daughters and her husband. If you are a visual person and looking to be inspired, this is the blog for you!
Civilized Caveman - George
Okay, George isn’t married & doesn’t have kids. Why am I suggesting him as a family friendly Paleo blogger? Because his food is delicious. Recipes like Paleo Banana Bread (with 3 variations), Apple Dijon Burger & Crock Pot “Smoked Beef Brisket are family favorites of ours.
The Wellness Mama – Katie
Food & recipes is just one thing that The Wellness Mama offers. I love this crisp, fresh site. Some of the articles I have found most interesting lately include: Oil Cleansing for Naturally Perfect Skin, 12 Uses for Gelatin, 9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Health.
This is another new blog I am following and it is a GOLD MINE of useful posts. I was in love as soon as I saw the header for the blog. I have been sharing the weekly meal planning posts on my FB page. For a taste of what they have to offer check out: Paleo Meal Planning – Family Favorites, Paleo Meal Planning – K.I.S.S, Paleo Meal Planning – Cheap & Easy.
This list was meant to be extensive, but I chose to only profile sites that I visit on a regular basis. I am sure that there are many more out there that would be useful for those of us struggling to survive the “real world” while teaching our kids the Paleo lifestyle. If you know of any great sites that I have missed, please message me at email@example.com.
Taking a break from the serious, informational posts for a bit to explore a lesser known and delicious veggie: Jicama!
Pronounced with an “h” sound, “hicama.”
Jicama is also known as the “Mexican yam” or “Mexican turnip.” And to borrow directly from Wikipedia:
“The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apple or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes.
Jícama is often paired with chili powder, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, oranges, red onion, salsa, sesame oil, grilled fish and soy sauce. It can be cut into thin wedges and dipped in salsa. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combos, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes.”
You might have seen jicama on some restaurant menus included in a slaw-type side dish, or stir-fried with some veggies. My favorite local Mexican restaurant includes jicama in their sauteed mixed vegetable side dish with yellow squash, zuchinni & onions. (I love that I can order this instead of rice and beans!)
I also really like to cut up jicama and just snack on it. Very crunchy and a nice alternative to carrots and celery. High in fiber, Vitamin C, A, B, calcium and phosphorus.
My advice would be to pick up some of the round potato looking root veggies, peel them and chop them. Sprinkle them with lime juice and seasoning, add them to a veggie tray, saute them lightly, or substitute them for a potato. Experiment! See what happens.
We purchased 1/2 of a lamb this month and have been experimenting with some lamb recipes. Ground lamb is an easy go-to for a quick meal, just like ground beef and pork. I had some thawing and had every intention of making one of those fancy looking Shepherd’s Pie recipes.
This one is from The Primalist. Doesn’t it look lovely?
Then I had to get real with myself and admit that I wasn’t going to brown all that meat and mash those sweet potatoes/squash/cauliflower, then arrange it in a dish and bake it. It just wasn’t one of those kinds of days. So, instead I did a very basic “scramble” or “skillet.”
My other shortcut was trying out Penzey’s Lamb seasoning that I picked up recently to accompany our mass meat purchase. Penzey’s rarely steers me wrong. Their lamb seasoning is a blend of: Turkish oregano, rosemary, cumin, celery, sweet paprika, black pepper, onion, garlic, spearmint and ginger. What are the chances that I am going to stand around the stove and measure all of those lovely spices out into a dish? Zero! Just another reason that I am a big fan of spice blends to give a quick meal a lot of flavor! (I found that this blend worked out beautifully, but the final dish did need a little salt to finish it off.)
Here is the basic recipe, but remember this is the kind of thing that lends itself to a lot of wiggle room. I basically made this with stuff I had in the fridge. The squash I used was a Golden Hubbard that I had pre-baked earlier in the week to have on hand.
This was also really yummy later in the week topped with a fried egg for breakfast!