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Archive for April, 2012

In the right hand side of the blog there is a section called “what’s for dinner?” – here I will post some of the things we are eating at our house!

BBQ Pork cooked in the crockpot with homemade bbq sauce

Red cabbage slaw with carrots

Baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon

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Are you tired of counting calories, gutting it out on the treadmill for hours, and constantly feeling guilty for craving foods that you think are “bad” without seeing any results in your energy level or the mirror? I was the same way and followed conventional wisdom that told me to eat a diet low in fat and exercise until I dropped, but no more!

I exercise less, eat fattier richer food, and look and feel better than I ever have before – even after having a baby! Interested?

Below I will lay out a step by step guide to eliminating bread and wheat from your diet (or at least what I did). Some people can just go cold turkey, throw everything out and never look back, but that wasn’t my experience.

First, Learn all you can about the harmful effects of wheat. Unless you have a solid foundation of why the primal lifestyle is so beneficial, you will go back to your old ways of eating at the first sign of temptation. See my post on why wheat is the enemy here or see the resources page for some other smart people’s opinions as well.

Decide why you want to change your lifestyle. Again, knowing your personal motivation will help you stay on track when it gets hard. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to have more energy? Are you trying to get rid of some medical condition? Regularly reminding yourself of the reasons you are eating this way will help you stay on the course long term. You have to think of the long term goals instead of the short term.

Now that you have a good knowledge of the primal lifestyle and know why you personally want to make the change, it’s time to get practical.

First, go through your refrigerator and pantry and get rid of all the processed food. If it’s there, it’s going to be tempting. If you’re like me you are hard wired to never waste food so throwing it away will simply be torture. Give the food to a local food bank if it’s unopened. Or, if you want some creative household uses for these items, here is a great source from Wellness Mama to help you eliminate the bad, but put them to good use. A personal favorite is the sugar scrub, which I gave as a gift last christmas and was a big hit with my mom!

If you aren’t one of those people mentioned above who can just give it all up cold turkey, then maybe a gradual approach is best for you. Remember, we aren’t trying to win an award to see who can eat the most primal. If it’s truly for your health, then even a small step in the right direction is huge!

Identify your weaknesses. For me, it was cereal. I was an avid cereal eater. I would have a bowl (or two) in the mornings and usually one before I went to bed. There’s just something about the crunchiness that is so addicting! I knew if I was going to eliminate wheat, this had to be the first thing to go. So, I stopped eating the bowl of cereal at night and if I needed a snack would eat something like berries and yogurt or cottage cheese, a piece of fruit, or just a spoonful of almond butter. Most of the time I wasn’t even hungry, I had just formed a habit. Gradually I began to eliminate the bowl of cereal in the morning and switched to scrambled eggs with onions/peppers/greens. This did take a bit more effort, but I started to actually crave the eggs in the morning!

Buy good, real food. Don’t let yourself buy bread, pasta, cereal, chips, etc. Even if it’s on sale and you have a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon and they are actually going to  give you money for buying it – don’t give in! Shop the periphery. You’ve probably heard of this or read it somewhere, but it’s so key when you are shopping. Very few things are good in the middle isles. I rarely even venture there (unless it’s to get coffee!).

Find a friend who is on board. Everything is easier (and more fun) when you have a companion and someone to encourage and help you. I’m very lucky to have a husband who is totally on board and even motivates me many days. Find a family member, a friend, a roommate, even an online friend through a forum here or at another primal website to help you continue and give you new ideas and recipes.

Find recipes or alter to make them primal. One of my current favorite recipes is stuffed roasted red pepper. The recipe called for rice and black beans. I simply omitted the black beans and added quinoa instead of rice.

Finally, continue to remind yourself of the long term benefits. The goal is a happy, healthy, energetic you. And don’t forget to give yourself a little grace, no one is perfect. If you cave into that delicious chocolate cake, remind yourself of the reason you don’t eat it all the time and continue to eat real, whole foods. This is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.

What are some ways that have helped you stay on track?

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I will admit, if you want to eat real, whole food you may have to increase your food budget a bit. I believe the long term benefits of being a healthy person far outweigh digging a little deeper in your pockets to get wholesome food for you and your family. Spending a little more now means spending less in the years to come on things like doctors visits and medications.

With that being said, there are some things you can do to help make every penny count while eating well.

1. Regularly set aside time to plan out meals: This one alone can save you tons of money and time. I find this helps me tremendously financially and mentally throughout the week. Coming up with a dinner menu on a whim can be hard! I would recommend finding a consistent time each week to do this. For me it’s Sunday evenings. This is also the time my husband and I talk about our weekly plans and finances, so it fits perfectly. Below is a sample menu from a few weeks ago (recipes to come!):

Monday – Slow cooker BBQ with slaw and sauteed kale

Tuesday – Curried pan-seared chicken with parsnips

Wednesday – Salmon cakes with brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes

Thursday – Roasted Red Pepper with Quinoa

Friday – Shrimp, Quinoa w/ herbs and onion, broccoli

Saturday – Sausages and salad

2. Drink pure water: That sweet tea, coke, or flavored water can really add up (financially and in the belt line).

3. Use the Crockpot: You might be wondering how this one makes the list. Not only does using your crockpot save time, I have found that I can cook large quantities, which yield leftovers. I try to do a crockpot meal at the beginning of the week (BBQ chicken or pork, roast beef, or stew) and eat on it when we need to grab something quick.

4. Join a CSA: This stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You pay a certain amount each week, monthly, or all at once and you are essentially paying the farmer for a portion of their harvest. It’s also a great way to learn about new vegetables as some you may have never eaten or even seen before.

5. Get a chest freezer and buy meat in bulk: Much of the meat that we buy in the supermarkets is from many different animals ground up and packaged. Buying meat in bulk from a trusted source allows you the peace of mind in knowing where it came from and also what the animal ate (ex: grass-fed is much higher in nutritional content).

6. Fat is good. A benefit of eliminating grain and wheat from the diet is that you aren’t filling up on empty calories, but on good wholesome fat. Fat is not a bad word. Eating more protein and fat helps you feel full longer, therefore, you won’t have to eat as much.

7. Grow a garden: There’s no better tasting vegetable than one that is homegrown. What could be better than walking into your back yard and picking your dinner vegetables? Even if you have a small space, you can do raised bed planters or even buddy up with a friend who has more space and grow one together.

8. Fast: This one probably does not sound great to you, but there is a lot of evidence that suggests that fasting is actually really good for you. Check out Mark Sisson’s website here as he recently did a series on the benefits of fasting.

9. Make smoothies for breakfast: When I eliminated grains and wheat from my diet, I found it hard to know what to eat for breakfast. I ended up eating eggs everyday, which is great for a while, but somedays I needed a change. I started making berry smoothies or a new favorite of mine is the avocado-banana smoothie.

10. Don’t buy processed foods. If you are reading this then #10 is a no-brainer. These packaged items can break the bank and wreak havoc on your insides.

11. Take some time to cook ahead: I try to take a few hours (I don’t have a set time right now as it depends on my daughter’s schedule) each week to make some extra meals. Again, this is a time and money saver.

12. Double and Freeze: I love to double whatever I am making and then freeze the rest for an easy meal later.

I hope this helped you, I’d love to hear other ideas that you have as well!

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