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Archive for the ‘Practically Primal’ Category

Until recently, I seriously underestimated smoothies, epecially green smoothies. It sounded kind of gross to me, and even though I love greens, I didn’t know if I wanted to drink them. However, once I learned the health benefits and made some of my own, I can’t get enough of them! We recently went to the beach for a week with some friends and I would love to say that we ate perfectly primal, but that’s just not the truth. We did pretty well though and made sure to get our greens though smoothies. A pile of salad isn’t exactly easily portable for the beach. So green smoothies it was – a great hot weather food!

If you haven’t yet watched this video, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It’s about 18 minutes long and well worth your time. Dr. Terry Wahls is a former Tae Kwon Do champion who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This progressive disease degenerates your brain and leaves you wheelchair bound.  She describes her transformative experience with a primal diet rich in leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, organs (I know, eww – I’m willing to try it though), and seaweed. If this doesn’t motivate you to take a serious look at what you eat, I’m not sure anything will!

I have always enjoyed salads and eat them fairly often. After watching this video, however, I started wondering if I was getting enough. Green smoothies are the perfect way to ensure that you get your in your greens and are a great change up from a daily salad. You can also freeze them for a treat in the morning. I will take one out at night, put it in the fridge and it is ready to drink in the morning (great for busy, rushing out of the door mornings).

Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, arugula, lettuce, swiss chard, etc.) are a great source of magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, and betaine (helps maintain liver health). So, where to begin in making your green smoothie?You really can just throw in your favorite ingredients and taste test along the way. Here is my favorite way to add green into my smoothie:

1 cup plain yogurt (usually greek)

1 cup orange juice, or 4 fresh squeezed oranges

2 big handfuls of greens (spinach, mixed greens, kale, etc.)

1 ripe avocado (adds some healthy fats)

1 banana (I cut up some and have them in the freezer at all times for easy access)

1 cup mixed berries (I get a huge bag of frozen organic blueberries, blackberries, and rasperries at Costco for about $11)

Ice, until you have reached your desired consistency

Makes about 2 very generous servings or 4-6 smaller servings.

Add the liquid and yogurt to the blender along with the greens. You want to make sure you get the greens mixed well with the liquid before you start adding too many ingredients to ensure that you don’t end up with green chunks. (You can ask my husband how that tastes, haha. I almost turned him off of green smoothies for good with a chunky green one. Luckily I have perfected the recipe and now they are one of his favorite drinks.) After the greens are incorporated well with the liquid, start adding the rest of the ingredients. Pour and enjoy, knowing you are doing a favor to your body!

How do you make sure you get your greens? What is your favorite green smoothie recipe? 

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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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