Friday, May 31, 2013

You want me to eat what???

I knew one of the challenges going into this healthy lifestyle journey would be getting the boys, ah-hem, Chad, to eat things they don't normally eat.  Luckily this was Chad's idea and he went into knowing that he was going to have to branch out and try new things.  I mean, the man doesn't like guacamole, who doesn't like guacamole??  It's like the perfect paleo snack and makes eating celery much more tasty!

Anyways, I had purchased some bell peppers in my trip to Whole Foods (Read more about that experience here), that were about to go bad.  I had put off using them because I knew that Chad is not a big fan of bell peppers, but on Paleo it was one of those things I thought he needed to learn to like.  So I did a stuffed bell pepper recipe and I am happy to report that while he says he could have done without the bell pepper and just ate the stuffing, he actually liked the recipe-- and ate the bell pepper with it.  I thought they were amazing-- this recipe is awesome if you like stuffed peppers.  Noal even ate his and the remainder of Trace's he like them so much!

My Stuffed Bell Peppers - YUMMO
I found the recipe on a website and just made a few minor tweaks to accommodate what I had in my kitchen.  Instead of using the 1/2 large onion I had a frozen Bird's Eye Marsala blend that was in my freezer and used it instead.  I actually liked that better because it added mushrooms to the stuffing and we LOVE mushrooms at our house.  Side Note:  The Bird's Eye Recipe Ready frozen veggies are awesome if you are lazy like me and hate to chop/dice/mince etc thing like onions, mushrooms, stir-fry ingredients, etc.  Plus they are frozen so they don't go bad as quickly and are less likely to end up wasted.

Next week we are getting ready to try our first round with EMEALS and I am super excited about it.  It provides you with 4-7 dinner recipes (depending on the super affordable plan you chose) a week and includes a shopping list for the items you'll need.  SUPER EASY and SUPER HANDY if you are just getting started and need new ideas like we do.  Check it out here!  We are starting tomorrow so I will be sure to update how that goes!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One Week Complete

One week down in the books for our new, healthier lifestyle.  The first week on Paleo has been an adventure and I've have learned a lot along the way.  I hope I've been able to shed some insight into the start of it for you if you are interested in starting Paleo yourself.

Soooo... I'm sure the big question is, what are the results?  Here's what I can tell you are the results for us so far:

  • Chad and I have both lost weight, just a few pounds each but that's a start.
  • I have slept better the past week-- even when my allergies struck.
  • The cravings are slowing down.  Not going to lie, it is still tough to not eat what I want to eat, but it gets easier every day.
  • I am taking on a new mentality about food:
    • Food is not about what I want, it's about what my body needs.  
    • That is not to say that I'm never going to eat certain things again, it's just I've learned to view things like cokes, Starbucks, cheese dip, etc as treats, not cheats.  I am not going to feel bad when I have these things I'm just going to change my mentality about when and how much I should have them.

Overall I am happy with the success and results for one week.  I have learned a great deal and there is still learning to be done.  Looking forward to continuing on this journey!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing everyone a safe and blessed Memorial Day.  We are enjoying the morning with Paleo Banana Pancakes and Bacon.  Looking forward to an afternoon on the lake with friends!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I wanted to take a post to talk a little about what I've learned in the last week about where to shop for Paleo.  Upon reading the books and deciding to go on this journey I just knew that Whole Feeds was the place to go to get what we needed-- and don't get my wrong it had everything we needed it was also just EXTEMELY pricey.  Chad's reaction was if you spent that where is all the stuff?  We knew that eating clean would mean more grocery money, but ouch-- I didn't know how much.  Luckily, I found us some more wallet friendly alternatives.


Whole Foods is great if you are looking for really unusual items and not wanting to get confused on what is clean and what isn't because all of Whole Foods is clean eating friendly.  But let me warn you, if you have never been to Whole Foods it is an interesting experience.  I felt like a complete loser the entire time as I walked around looking my screen shots from the Kindle trying to pick up our new items.  The place has a culture all of its own and if it is your first time you're going to feel like an outsider.  Let me share a few tips with you.  Make a list of what you need-- I thought I had a good idea but got in there and got so overwhelmed that I ended up walking through each aisle at least five times.  Also, be sure to bring your own shopping bags.  They have bags there if you forget but you don't get the ugly looks if you bring your own.


This place is where you need to go.  I just assumed that they wouldn't have as much selection as Whole Foods, but boy I was wrong.  I stopped in yesterday just to pick up a few items and was amazed by their selection and their prices.  They have all the grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and also have enough organic fruits to get you through.  They have lots of options for dressings and I was even able to pick up a Paleo friendly bottle of ranch so that I didn't have to make my own.  This is where I will continue to do our shopping from now on.


I haven't purchased anything yet because I am waiting to see just how much we use and how much we need but there are some great options to purchase your Paleo friendly foods online.  Chad and I are considering do a 1/2 cow from a grass-fed online site that would be a big chunk of money upfront, but would save us in the long run.  There are also some sites that offer Paleo snacks and etc that we will buy eventually.  Here are some of the websites I've discovered:

Lastly, I have to give some major props to my hubby.  He made an EXCELLENT Paleo meal last night.  I came home from work to blackened Mahi-Mahi, grilled asparagus and zucchini.  It was DELICIOUS!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Skinny Jeans

By the title I assume you can guess what my excitement was this morning...  I got back into my skinny (the style, not the weight-- still got about 10 lbs to hit before I'm there) jeans today.  I had them nicely folded up in the back of my closet and thought, well I'll give it a try.  I am lucky enough to be able to wear jeans to work during the summer and I was only able to fit into three pairs that I owned, well make that four now.  Super excited because I haven't had these on in a few months-- I phased them out with my boots which I told myself was because of the boots but reality was they were just too tight.  I mean I could get them buttoned-- but hear me on this folks, JUST BECAUSE IT ZIPS DON'T MEAN IT FITS.

Yesterday was a long day and Chad had a family emergency so the evening was kind of a blur.  However, I did pack us a bag of snacks for the hospital because from what I know of hospitals I doubted there was much we could find to eat.  Luckily we didn't end needing it because the news we initially got wasn't as bad as the reality of the situation. So we didn't end up going up to the hospital.

The earlier part of day was a great day for our Paleo journey.  Chad came up to Clarksville so we could have a lunch date and we ate at Ruby Tuesday's.  I probably haven't eat at a Ruby Tuesday's in 2 years and I have to say I was SUPER impressed by their healthy menu options and even better, low prices!  Chad and I both had a sirloin steak, the garden bar (which is as amazing as it always has been), and spaghetti squash.  Chad also had an extra side of grilled zucchini which was phenomenal!

Spaghetti squash was new to both of us and I was extra anxious to try it to see if it would help curb some of those grain cravings-- it didn't help they brought out biscuits and set them right in front of us.  Lesson learned:  politely decline the bread.  I swear at one point I heard it calling my name!  LOL.  The spaghetti squash as a side on it's okay was, well,okay.  Not bad, not good, I could eat it but it wasn't something I will chose from now on.  However, I do think used like spaghetti with a tomato sauce and meat on top of it that it will be a great pasta substitute!

For those of you that are interested in starting this journey for yourself or your family I do want to recommend a few books.  All of them are quick reads but have some really great pointers and tips to get you started.  The best part, you can purchase all three of them on Kindle for around $25!

This is a great read if you are looking to make a lifestyle change for your whole family.  Sarah has kids and does a wonderful job outlining the basic premise of Paleo and how you can make it family friendly.  There are also a few jump start recipes listed in there for you as well.  If you can only purchase one book right now, I would pick this one!

This is a great resource for recipes beyond what is included in her books.  Give you lots of various food categories and menu selections as well.  Haven't tried anything out of this yet and haven't really read through it too much to be honest, but I know it will be a good go-to when the feeling of monotony sets in.

This book was extremely helpful in understanding the core concepts of the diet.  Most of the information was repetitive from Everyday Paleo, but I found the wording and layout to be easier to digest (no pun intended, okay maybe a little) so if you can get this one too I would.  It also has some really great recipes in there as well!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sharing a little secret...

Today I woke up and decided to weigh.  >Insert dramatic sound here<

They say a woman should never tell her weight, but for the sake of the blog I feel it's necessary.  I am happy to report that I am already 4 lbs down.... crazy, yes!  I am back under 130 (okay, well 129.5, but hey it counts!) and that is really my "I'm okay with my body" weight limit.  If we are being honest here, body image has really been a struggle for me this past few months as I have been over that ideal weight anywhere from 3-8 lbs and when you are 5'3" that can mean a big difference in your waistline and thighs.

Today was a big day for me and I am ready to see what the total transformation will look like.  Now please let me preface this with the fact that I do lose weight fairly easily from what I have been told by others, but Chad is also seeing results too.  I will be kind and not share his weight because it's not mine to share, but as his wife I am seeing tone in his stomach that wasn't there at the beach...  ALL FROM A FEW DAYS!  This is crazy!

So here is how our day went yesterday:

I had an assortment of sliced fresh fruit (pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, melon, etc) and it was my first time using coconut milk creamer in my coffee.  To be honest, I can't really even tell a difference in my coffee other than I didn't add about 6 tbsp of sugar (no joke) to it.  The creamer taste just like normal dairy based creamers.  This is a good thing-- because this girl NEEDS her coffee!

 We went to eat at Blackhorse and what I ordered wasn't much of a change for me.  I usually order the Sweet Summertime Salad with Grilled Chicken anyways.  The only difference was I did the dressing on the side and asked them to hold the bleu cheese and roll (best not to even see it!).  The hardest part was watching everyone else eat their beer cheese dip and chips...  UGH!

Yesterday for dinner we encountered our first-- will we cave or stay strong issue.  Every Wednesday night we spend our evenings at the church helping with "The Vine", ECN's youth group.  Part of the night consists of us all eating dinner together and the menu was one of my favorites, LASAGNA...  Which completely and totally goes against all things Paleo.  The good news is I am happy to report that we stayed strong.  We did opt for convenience by getting combo (shrimp, chicken, beef) fajitas from the local Mexican restaurant to go and just ate the meat and veggies (no tortillas and even sadder, no chips and cheese dip!-- apparently I really love me some chips and cheese dip) but compared to what we would have eaten I felt like we stayed on the right path.

Overall, the day yesterday was much easier than the first because I prepared.  I packed a lunch bag with snacks (Emerald dark chocolate covered almond 100 calories packs and an apple) and was able to stay full throughout most of the day.  I feel like this is going good-- here's to staying this motivated for life!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm soooooo huunnngray!

Well day one on Paleo has officially come and gone and I made it.  Whoo-hoo, one day at a time, right?  The food was great and I really didn't have that much of a problem with what I ate.  I really enjoyed it actually-- the only problem was my own fault and that was I didn't eat enough.  I am not used to eating healthy and I forget that even with probably more options for purchasing snacks than most, since I work on a college campus with restaurants in the building over, the offerings were all still things I couldn't eat.  So other than my breakfast and lunch I didn't have anything to eat, which meant I spent most of the day starving.  Here's what my day one looked like:

I made a smoothie before leaving for work.  Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 organic banana
  • 2 tb almond butter
  • Coconut Milk
  • Ice
Add blueberries, banana and almond butter in the blender.  Pour coconut milk over ingredients until      covered.  Add ice, I used 4 cubes, but this depends on how thick and cold you want your smoothie--       add more or less depending on desired consistency.  Blend.  Easy enough, right?

I am normally an eat-outter at lunch and I wanted to make sure that didn't have to change.  So for lunch I went to Subway and did a chopped spinach salad with tomatoes, olives, banana peppers, and grilled chicken.  I had them put a little of the red wine vinaigrette on the side just to give it some flavor.

As soon as I got home I grabbed an organic barlett pear.  By this time I was starving because I didn't think ahead and the temptation to run through McDonald's or Sonic on my way home was intense, but I fought it and made it home so I could eat a good snack.

I have to say our first Paleo dinner turned out awesome.  It was such a beautiful day so Chad fired up the grill and we had hamburgers and fries, Paleo style.  Here are the recipes:

Paleo Hamburgers--  you're going to need a knife and fork for this one!  :-)
  • 1 lb grass fed lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt/pepper
  • 9 free-range eggs
Mix ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 egg and salt/pepper to taste together.  Pat into 4 equal patties (about 1/4 lb each).  Grill to desired doneness (we did ours to about medium well and it took about 10 minutes).

While the burgers are on the grill, use bacon grease or coconut oil to fry up 8 eggs-- set aside on plate.

Place burger patties in between two fried eggs (imagine the eggs as your bun).  Top with mustard, guacamole, other Paleo friendly condiments of choice.  We used guacamole and it was a perfect addition!

Sweet Potato Fries
  • 1 large sweet potato (if it's big enough that all you'll need... two smaller ones would be just fine)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Coconut Flakes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat baking pan/cookie sheet with coconut oil.

Peel sweet potato and dice into fries.  Put sea salt and coconut flakes (to taste) in baggie and add fries.  Shake until all pieces are well covered.

Bake at 425 for about 10-15 minutes.

Overall the day went great.  I learned my mistake and I have plenty of snack options with me today at work. Side note--  I slept through the entire night first time in several weeks without waking up... not sure if it was coincidence or if my body can already tell a difference.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And so it begins...

After some reading and discussion with some friends at church, Chad and I decided to make a lifestyle change by following the eating recommendations of the Paleo Diet.  Yesterday, I am happy to report, we began the first steps on our journey.  The evening was spent purging our kitchen of unhealthy food and restocking it with healthier options-- here are my thoughts and feelings about the process.

I spent over two hours riding our fridge and pantry of all the items that we could no longer eat-- out of sight, out of mind.  I just felt that as a family unit we would have much more success making this drastic transition by doing it.  After 3 garbage bags full of expired/opened and stale/two bites left of food I cannot tell you the incredible sense of guilt I felt over how much food we had wasted. Thankfully, I was able to donate several items of unopened can goods and etc to our church which helped to ease the guilt some, but the overwhelming sense of excess that we had in our pantry and fridge has continued to be heavy on my heart even throughout today.  As we move, forward in this journey I pray that God will help us as a family to reel in the excess and over-consumption that has flooded our home and minds from traditional American culture.

I am really excited to see how this journey will change us.  Though Chad or I neither one have ever been considered overweight we both could stand to lose a few pounds to be at our optimal appearance.  I am interested to see how our body's will shift and adjust as we make these changes.  I personally though I am more excited to see how these health changes will make me feel.  As a wife,  mommy of two rambunctious little boys, full time professional and volunteer for about six million other duties it easy too understand why I might stay tired, but the lack of energy I have had recently is overwhelming.  It seems as even when I have time to sleep I am not able too, so I am hoping that as I become healthier not only will I look better but I will feel better too.

As I dumped the remains of Easter, Valentine, Christmas and I ashamed as I am Halloween candy into the trash bag I began to wonder if the boys would strike a coup d'√Čta against me... no more candy, no more chips, no more Pop-Tarts-- whatever shall they eat!?!  I was blown away to see that the boys came home after my purge and restock and were absolutely THRILLED to eat the fresh strawberries and apples I had picked up instead of Cheetos or Fruit Loops.  Basically-- I have been a lazy mom.  Yup, I said it-- LAZY.  It is actually not about what the boys will or won't eat, its about the time I am willing to put in to feed them.  Handing them a bag or Pop-Tart out of the pantry is much easier and convenient than cutting up some strawberries and slicing an apple to hand them.  With that being said, I did keep a few toddler friendly items around such as milk (dairy is not allowed on Paleo) and hotdogs, but for the most part I am going to expect the boys to eat what we eat.

My favorite memory of day one:  Noal asking Daddy for more "weafs" out of his salad.  The kid sat and ate raw spinach leaves like it was M&Ms.  And I though they were the ones who would complain...