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Coconut Cinnamon Latte

Coconut Cinnamon Latte.

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Primal Trail Mix

Primal Trail Mix.

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So after you threw away all of your cheetos, store bought ice cream, and cereal you got a little hungry mid day and are rummaging through your pantry trying to find something to satisfy that sweet or salty tooth. Here are a few tasty ideas to get you through those panic moments so you don’t run to the nearest store for doughnuts (my weakness):

Yogurt, berries, and dark chocolate  

Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and good bacteria for your gut (make sure you get the kind that says ‘live active cultures‘). Berries are just delicious and full of antioxidants. And dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)… I don’t think I have to convince you here, is also packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants basically serve as scavengers in our body to eat up all of the free radicals or the damaged cells (which is a good thing!).

Apples/Banana, Almond Butter, & cheese

Almond Butter pancakes

Cottage cheese & fruit

Almond Protein bars 

I got this recipe from Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking and it is a favorite with us! I used almond butter instead of peanut butter. I make a double batch of these and freeze them for a quick and easy snack (usually 5 minutes out of the freezer is plenty of time) on the go.

Primal Trail Mix

We got this idea from Mark at Mark’s Daily Apple and my husband takes this with him on all of his camping/hiking trips. Take walnuts/almonds/any other kind of nut or seed (other than peanuts b/c remember they are a legume) and pour melted coconut over the top with a drizzle of honey. Place in the refrigerator until coconut oil is solid and break up and eat!

Kale chips

Tear leaves off of center rib piece, sprinkle with olive oil, salt & pepper and bake on 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until crisp.

Green Smoothies

Pears, grass-fed cheese, almond butter, yogurt & berries, and a small glass of whole milk (I know, I know)

No, I’m not pregnant, but I have had more strange cravings since I’ve been breast feeding than I ever did pregnant. I have really craved whole milk, full fat yogurt, etc. So, here’s a pic of what I had for a snack last night (we did have a really early dinner so this was kind of a late night dinner/snack). 😉

What are some of your favorite snacks? What keeps you motivated to stay away from the processed snacks?

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When my husband and I started our primal lifestyle, we went meat crazy! This resulted in a disproportionate consumption of meat versus nutrient dense vegetables. It also blew our food budget out of the window! As a way to fix both of these problems, on occasion, we have a meatless dinner. One of my favorite ways to do this is with portobello mushrooms.  These “meaty” mushrooms help you forget you aren’t eating actual meat and can serve as a “bun” or “pizza dough” for various toppings.

The Portobello mushroom boasts a great nutrient profile being high in dietary fiber, protein, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin B6, folate magnesium, zinc, manganese, and iron. When buying a portobello mushroom make sure it is not slimy or shriveled and it should have an earthy smell. To clean, carefully wipe and cover the mushroom with a dry paper towel and place in the refrigerator in an area that air can circulate. They can be kept for 5-6 days.

How to make Italian Baked Portobello Mushrooms:

Ingredients

2 portobello mushrooms (for 2 people)

diced tomatoes

parmesan cheese (I found freshly shaved, made from raw milk, parmesan, asiago, and romano cheese from Trader Joe’s – so good!)

fresh basil, lightly chopped

olive oil

salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Directions

Wipe mushrooms with a paper towel. They do not need to be run over with water. Carefully take out the stem and scrape out the black gill-like fibers. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the entire mushroom lightly in olive oil. Mix together tomatoes, basil, cheese (as desired), and salt, pepper, & garlic powder. Fill mushrooms with mixture and bake for about 30 minutes!

What is your favorite way to eat portobello mushrooms?

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As a way to help you in your primal meal planning efforts and as a way to keep myself accountable, I’ve decided to make Mondays “Meal Plan Monday”. I use Sunday nights as my meal planning/brainstorming session and grocery list time, however, because of my personality, I sometimes stray just a bit from my “list” when I make my weekly Monday trip. Therefore, I am posting what we ate the previous week. It will be much more accurate this way. 😉 So, here goes …

Monday: Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers (I added ground beef this time, very filling!) & Roasted broccoli

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ pork (had leftovers for lunches during the week) & leftover roasted broccoli

Wednesday: Baked Portobello mushrooms w/ diced tomatoes, basil, and parmesan (recipe to come, although it’s pretty self explanatory) & sweet potatoes

Thursday: Crockpot artichoke chicken bake & roasted brussel sprouts

Friday: Grilled out with friends – Grilled sausages w/ grilled veggies (zucchini, squash, & onions)

Saturday: Taco salad – baked cod, mixed greens, quinoa, sour cream, tomatoes, onion, salsa, avocado)

Sunday: My first Mother’s Day, I actually cooked a non primal brunch for my mom! 😉

Lunches consist of various mixed green salads (with lots of veggies on top) and leftover meat from dinner or sometimes meatless. We might throw some almonds & fruit in as well.

Breakfast is a scrambled egg variation, sometimes with a side of bacon or sausage. We had lots of Green Smoothies this week as we were trying to knock out a cold that has gotten all three of us down!

I hope this helps you in your primal meal planning! We are not always perfect (as this week was not “everyday” primal), but our goal is create a grain-free, real food lifestyle.

What did you have/are you going to have for dinner this week?

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What if you didn’t have to worry about fat? If you wanted that steak for dinner, no guilt. Those veggies covered in grass-fed butter – no problem. That full fat yogurt with berries on top for dessert, go for it.

You probably read that title and thought you were going to read a post about the dangers of saturated fat and how we should stay away from them at all costs. We all know about “artery clogging saturated fats” right? Quite the opposite. Contrary to what we have been told by almost all of the health organizations, saturated fat is not the enemy. Fat is not making you fat, carbs are. Now, there’s a new idea! Let me explain. (Note: I am not a health professional, but have done research on my own and have the personal experience to back it up.)

A little History Lesson

In the 1960’s a scientist named Ancel Keys published his famous Seven Countries Study. His hypothesis was that saturated fat led to heart disease. So, he studied seven countries and they all showed this conclusion, right? Well sort of. He actually studied 22 countries, but fifteen did not fit his original hypothesis so he threw them out! The graph below was his original data (taken from Mark’s Daily Apple). The red dots include three tribes well known for eating high amounts of saturated fat, but having low incidences of heart disease (the Masai, Inuit, and Tokelau).

 If you took any kind of science class in college, you’ve heard about the “lipid hypothesis”. Keys is the father of the lipid hypothesis, which states that saturated fat increases cholestorol, which leads to clogged arteries and heart disease. I’m sure this makes sense to you only because you have heard it for as long as you can remember. However, a closer look at Ancel Keys’ study, notes a correlation (not definitive or conclusive) with increased saturated fat and heart disease. But, he threw out countries that eat a lot of saturated fat and have little heart disease or countries that eat little saturated fat and have high rates of heart disease. All in all, this was not a conclusive or even a good study. But, he got rewarded by getting on the cover of Time magazine and becoming extremely wealthy!

Meanwhile, a scientist named John Yudkin was doing similar studies on sugar and heart disease, but his study gained no traction so you haven’t heard of him.

What is Saturated Fat?

Saturated fat is shelf stable, resistant to heat damage, and essential to bodily functions. It makes up roughly half of our cell membrane structure and is a great source of energy. Saturated fat increases your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). However, there is no correlation of increase in heart disease with increase in cholesterol! Carbohydrate consumption increases triglyceride levels, not fat. Most of the studies done on this aren’t controlled studies, but observational ones meaning they ask people to fill out questionaires of what they ate in the past year, 5 years, 10 years. Who could remember that?

Evidence

In the 1960s and 70s two different doctors working on two different studies decided to prescribe an all meat diet to their patients. This was before saturated fat and meat had all the negative publicity. I’m sure this study would be considered “unethical” by today’s standards. Dr. Blake Donaldson who practiced in Manhattan was trying to help his patients with severe allergies. Dr. Walter Voegtlin in Seattle was trying to figure out a better method of helping his patients with Crohn’s disease. Both of these doctors, independently of the other, found that when the saturated fat content of their patient’s diet increased, belly fat decreased! Not what they were originally looking for, but ground breaking nonetheless. They also found that increased saturated fat improved blood sugar and blood pressure, even in patients who had heart disease already!

7 reasons why you need saturated fat in your diet:

Below are reasons why adding things like fatty cuts of meat, chicken with the skin, bacon, eggs, butter, coconut oil, organic lard, and heavy cream should not be feared…

1. Improved cardiovascular risk factors

Saturated fat reduced lipoprotein(a) is what is associated with heart disease. There is no known medication that can reduce this actual artery clogging lipoprotein. Increased saturated fat has been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol, you want this number to be high). And interestingly, in women who diet, those who eat more total fat lose the most weight! Now there’s a contradiction to the conventional wisdom that we are taught.

2. Stronger bones

Saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone.

3. Improved liver health

Saturated fat protects the liver from toxins (ie: alcohol, medications).

4. Healthy lungs

Lung surfactant, a substance which coats the lungs, is made up of 100% saturated fat. Many doctors believe that the increase in asthma in children may be due to saturated fat being cut from the diet.

5. Healthy brain

The brain is made of fat and cholesterol (mostly saturated fat).

6. Proper nerve signaling

Saturated fat is required for the nerves to function properly as messengers to the organs in the body.

7. Strong Immune system

Loss of sufficient saturated fat in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. –fourhourworkweek

So there you have it. The truth for which conventional wisdom has been oblivious. You can have your steak and eat it too!

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Walking into any grocery store check out line you are immediately bombarded with new fad diets and how some celebrity lost 20 pounds by “just eating ____”. Well, as we all know, somehow it worked for them, but it never works for us. The reason is because anyone can lose weight by just eating some miracle food, but for how long and at what cost? These fad diets may help you lose weight, but you end up with no energy and food becomes boring. Who wants to eat just lettuce or beans or whatever? Wouldn’t you rather lose weight, feel great, AND enjoy your food at the same time? Keep reading…

What is the primal lifestyle?

In short: eat meat and plants. That’s it. Eating a primal diet is simple. However, in our modern age, we are so reliant on processed and convenience foods (including items like cereal grains, packaged breads, bagels, etc.: see below) that it does take a bit of a paradigm shift to actually do this.

Short history of wheat

It wasn’t until roughly 10,000 years ago that humans started eating grains. These grains were very different from the grains we consume today. As a result of human intervention and the need to produce more wheat per acre, we have “invented” over 25,000 types of wheat.

The way we eat today has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000.  – Food, Inc.

The type of wheat we have been consuming over the past 50 years is the result of geneticist Dr. Norman Borlaug. This “dwarf” wheat is short, stocky, and fast growing. The problem is that this wheat was created as a result of genetic engineering and gene splicing ,which can’t even survive in nature without the use of modern fertilizers and pesticides.

Why you don’t want to eat wheat

Dr. Davis [Wheat Belly] recounts an experiment he conducted on himself to compare the different impacts of ancient wheat and modern wheat on his blood sugar. He managed to find some einkorn wheat [that most likely was eaten during biblical times] and made bread from it. Two slices of that bread raised his blood sugar from 86 mg/dl to 110. Not bad. Then he made bread from modern whole wheat – you know, the stuff the USDA says is the key to great health. Two slices raised his blood sugar from 84 mg/dl to 167. That’s diabetes territory. – Tom Naughton, Fat Head

That alone should raise a few eyebrows and cause you to turn away from wheat. If it doesn’t, here are more reasons. Wheat contains three anti-nutrients: lectins, gluten, and phytates.

Gluten is a protein found in grains that break down the lining of your small intestine. This break down eventually leeches food into your blood stream causing allergies, digestive issues, and autoimmune problems. Although some people noticeably suffer from this more than others (ie. Celiac disease), almost everyone has some sort of reaction to gluten. Lectins are mild toxins which inhibit the repair of your gastrointestinal tract. And phytates strip your body of nutrients. Wow, makes you want to grab that bowl of cereal right?

Today, as I said before we have convenience at our finger tips and greed has its hand in everything including the food industry. Just because the FDA puts their seal of approval on something does not make it gold. In fact, I might even question it more since they are funded by many of the food companies, so they often have a biased opinion.

Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains. – Mark’s Daily Apple

You are probably thinking: don’t I need the fiber? What about carbohydrates? How do you get your “whole grain”?

Fiber: You don’t need all the fiber you think you do. Ever wonder why that Fiber one cereal or extra fiber bread gives you stomach issues the rest of the day? It’s because the fiber you eat is actually banging up against the “cells lining the gastrointestinal tract and rupturing their outer covering” (study). Doesn’t sound too pleasant to me. You do need some fiber, but you get plenty from vegetables and fruits.

Carbohydrates: I’m sure you know this, but just in case: vegetables do have enough carbohydrates for your daily needs. It’s not just bread, pasta, cereal, and rice as the food pyramid tries to convince us.

Whole wheat: Many well intentioned people make the switch to whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta thinking they have made a significant stride in their health when in actuality, it’s really a moot point; both contain lots of sugar.

“Two slices of whole grain bread increase blood sugar higher than table sugar, higher than many candy bars… This leads to higher and more frequent rises in insulin, which, in turn, creates insulin resistance, the condition that leads to diabetes… Wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy bars.”                                 – William Davis, M.D. author of Wheat Belly

So, if you are feeling depressed after reading this, don’t. Once you eliminate grains from your diet, your tastes will change and you will no longer crave them the way you did before. It’s true! My taste for sugar has drastically decreased. I now drink unsweet tea (and being from the south that’s a big deal!) and even love the taste of plain greek yogurt! Trust me, as a recovering cereal-0-holic, several months into eliminating grains I had the urge to eat a bowl of cereal, cheerios and wheat chex, doesn’t sound too bad right? Not only did the taste not live up to what I remember, but within 30 minutes after eating it, I had a headache. Not worth it in my opinion!

So find some encouragement and take baby steps. I would suggest eliminating grains and wheat for 30 days and see how you feel. If you don’t notice a difference then you can go back to the way you were eating (I doubt that will happen), no loss there. I promise you won’t even feel like you are giving anything up after a while!

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