Friday, December 28, 2012

Paleo n00bs here

After some researching on the "right" food plan for my household, I came across the Paleo diet.  It's not like I hadn't heard of it before, but I didn't pay much attention to it.  I knew without a doubt that vegan or semi-vegan was not going to work.  Besides, I'm crazy enough as it is.  I don't need meat deprivation (or protein deprivation, whatevs.) to make me a loony.  Since we had already tried to curb as much processed foods out of our lives, the transition will be fairly easy.  Once the Goose got over the idea of having to give up beans, rice and potatoes, he came around fairly quickly.  I like to think its because I armed myself with facts and science, to which he responds to more than hearsay.

Goose is a fan of the cavemen, so this wasn't as far fetched of an idea to give him.  Eat what the cavemen eat.  Hunt and forage for food.  Shy away from processed because clearly that wasn't around back then.  We still have our setbacks.  Come on, STL Style pizza is to die for.  We will have to give up grains because farming was in the NEXT era. Goose decided if he's boarding the Paleo train, he refuses to even cheat with flours to do breads/tortillas/pastas.  Good.  That's a lot of work.  I am already finding I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Boy, for a girl who said she'd marry a guy who cooks for her (and she did! I win.) I sure am taking over a lot of creative responsibility in the kitchen.  I'm not sure I can handle this. :)

I checked out website after website on recipes because as yummy as steak and salad sound, and even steak and eggs...that can get boring.  What I found was that I could make LOTS of things, lots of slight variations from what we already eat!  I can make paleo granola for Goose who needs his fix of "cereal" sometimes.  I even learned I could make my own chocolate.  Uh. Sold!

So I started cleaning out my food stuffs.  I started looking into alternate flours for those "in case" moments.   I had already ordered some coconut flour (which also came with manna, coconut flakes, and coconut sugar to replace brown sugar for ribs) and I gave away all the conventional flours and sugars in my pantry because I felt bad just throwing it out.  Out the door went oats for granola, brown sugar, flours, corn starch, corn meal, panko, Italian bread crumbs, etc.  We had already eliminated any teflon/aluminum cooking skillets because well, I paid almost $100 PER SKILLET and the frickin' things peeled right off and junk within the first 3 years.  O.o  We are sticking with cast iron skillets cuz the Goose says so.  For Christmas I got a Paleo basket with almond flour, coconut oil/flour, flax meal, and a Paleo cookbook.  I was so excited!

I am officially ready for us to do the 30 day challenge (the contest part is expired), especially after all the chocolates and treats and sweets that have made it in here over the holidays.  My dad even came up over Thanksgiving break and I made him aware we were going to be doing as much Paleo as we could. We did pretty well!  They came home one morning with Sonic and I furrowed my brow.  Other than that, the meals were quite close to Paleo, if not full Paleo.

I don't even think I have scratched the surface with this whole new lifestyle, but I am excited to try.  We will eventually be experts!  Meanwhile, here are a few meals we created while trying to be total paleos!

Some GREAT recipe sites:

Chicken Soup w/ Quinoa
Steak and eggs 
Kale Salad

Paleo Pork Roast

Mexican Carnitas (sans tortilla)
Duck in Red Wine Sauce 
Rosemary ACV marinated chicken
(topped with mushroom and onion)
Beatiful ribs!
Steak and Kale Salad

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chocolate is NOT the debil.

1. Eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed, a study done at the NestlĂ© Research Center in Switzerland recently found. Experts believe it could be thanks to the antioxidants in chocolate. What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols -- cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure.  (Psst: Be sure to account for the 235 calories that 1.4 ounces of chocolate delivers—or you may be stressed to see extra pounds creeping on.)

2. Dark chocolate is very high in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, which seems to protect the artery walls from becoming clogged with plaque and helps the body to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood flow.  Dark chocolate is also high in sugar and in fat from cocoa butter; however, most of the fat does not does not affect cholesterol levels - but it is still high in calories.  There is no daily recommendation for servings of dark chocolate.  When adding chocolate to the diet, substitute it for other sweets, not for healthy foods.  Eat pure dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or chocolate mixed with other ingredients.  Dark chocolate does contain ingredients that promote relaxation, but it takes about 20 pounds to feel those effects.  
  • Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
  • Lower Cholesterol: Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

3. Doesn't Chocolate Have a lot of Fat?: 
Here is some more good news -- some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:
  • Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
  • Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
  • Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.

4. Tips
Balance the Calories: 
This information doesn't mean that you should eat a pound of chocolate a day. Chocolate is still a high-calorie, high-fat food. Most of the studies done used no more than 100 grams, or about 3.5 ounces, of dark chocolate a day to get the benefits.  One bar of dark chocolate has around 400 calories. If you eat half a bar of chocolate a day, you must balance those 200 calories by eating less of something else. Cut out other sweets or snacks and replace them with chocolate to keep your total calories the same.  A hint: Don't replace healthy foods with chocolate. Most people's diets have plenty of sweets. Switch those for some chocolate if you're going to try the truffle treatment.  Just remember to balance the calories!  A 100-gram serving of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple you'd only take in 52 calories. But then, you'd miss out on the delicious blood pressure benefit.

Chocolate Tip 2 - Taste the Chocolate: 
Chocolate is a complex food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite. To really enjoy and appreciate chocolate, take the time to taste it. Professional chocolate tasters have developed a system for tasting chocolate that include assessing the appearance, smell, feel and taste of each piece.  AKA...savor it.  The more you do, the longer that little bit lasts and the happier you will be.

Chocolate Tip 3 - Go for Dark Chocolate: 
Dark chocolate has far more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate. These other two chocolates cannot make any health claims. Dark chocolate has 65 percent or higher cocoa content.
Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So if you're going to try this at home, remember: Darker is better.

Chocolate Tip 4 - Skip the Nougat: 
You should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavorings (YES!). Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings. These fillings are just adding sugar and fat which erase many of the benefits you get from eating the chocolate.

Chocolate Tip 5 - Avoid Milk: 
It may taste good but some research shows that washing your chocolate down with a glass of milk could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body.

The Studies
Taubert's team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure -- on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.
Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.
Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.
In the second study, Serafini's team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.
An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.

So...this means that if people have at least 1oz of DARK chocolate a day, (I recommend 70% or more) this world will be a happier place!  But remember to trade out those silly sweets like cookies or brownies that are more fattening, for this amazing little square of heaven.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You just never know

I used to be an avid Big Lots shopper because let's face it, I love a good deal.  I loved shopping their foods section because things were just SO CHEAP.  I also loved Aldi for the same reason!  However once we decided to jump on the organic bandwagon I stopped going to those places.  I hardly even shop at the organic sections in the normal grocery stores, except for Kroger, since I found my little nature store.  Last week I got an email ad for Big Lots.

The ad featured Bob's Red Mill products from $2-7 depending on the item.  I got really excited because I had seen these items and they aren't cheap where I was shopping around.  So I gathered up the grillz and we headed out to just see what they had.  I ended up with a few items mentioned in my other post and went home.  Today, I went back because I was thinking about picking up some bean soup mixes.  It's getting colder here and I'm craving soups.

While I didn't end up with the beans for soup, I was pilfering and found several surprise items!

The Cascadian Farm cereal I had found actually at Kroger on sale for $3 a box and so I grabbed one of each to test out.  The granola was a winner, so when I see it I pick up a couple boxes.  However, when I found it hiding on the bottom shelf at Big Lots for $2.30 I put six boxes in my basket (one's missing because Goose stole it)! The Almond Breeze coconut/almond milk was $1.50 and SALE prices at Kroger were $2.50.  I don't even want to talk about the price at the nature store.  I got that very tall container of sea salt for a whole $2 because I love coarse salt, and I was almost out.  I was excited to see these organic chocolate snacks for the tiny humans too.  They were $2 and I cannot wait to try out the peppermint tea.  The couscous didn't actually say organic but when you read the label and the ONLY ingredient is whole wheat couscous, I'm betting it's pretty safe.

I knew Big Lots had some cool finds if you were looking for them, but I am so excited to see some of these organic products there because they always have a really good price.  So I guess you never know where you'll find good treats if you just look!

*Disclaimer: After some peeking around, I realized Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills and works in conjunction with Monsanto. *BAD WORDS*  So, that also goes to show, even though it says USDA organic on the front, it may still associate with GMO's.  Now I'm super ashamed that I supported Monsatan! BEW!  It really sucks when you find a good deal and then research where the company came from.  Note to self...gonna have to not trust Cascadian Farms. :( 

Friday, August 31, 2012

I made something

Totally borrowed this from

I can't take credit for this idea, but I wish I had.  If you didn't know yet, I am part rabbit and will eat a salad a day.  Maybe twice, maybe more.  I can't think of many days since my HCG times that I haven't gone a day without salad.  I ate lots of salad before that too, in fact when my mom would have us down to visit and ask what snacks she needed to provide us, I would ask for salad.

So, I like salads.  DO YOU GET THAT?! Okay good.  Since I started flirting with clean eating, I found a few recipes for homemade dressings I liked a lot.  Now that clean eating and I are serious, I have at least 4 dressings I make on the regular.  Store bought dressings taste a little off to me.

I have made your basic balsamic/EVOO vinaigrette pretty much as a basic staple around here.  Goose is the biggest fan of it.  Then I learned of a couple from Skinnytaste, which I recommend you run over and get some ideas because I LOVE THAT SITE!  But this one I just discovered, is on a whole new playing field.

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette.  *drools*  I found it on pinterest (go figure) and was led to this site and when I saw how simple it was, and hey I have like 80 cups of basil outside, I KNEW I had to try it.  I have never had white balsamic before, BIG MISTAKE.  It will become a staple.  Anywhoo, this recipe can't be simpler.  Its just a couple ingredients and then blend it a couple seconds and BAM.

I made it last night and patiently waited to try it tonight.  I wanted the basil to meld and get all full flavored.  It was worth every second of the wait.  I just made a simple spinach salad.  Nothing else on it because that's really just how I like it.  The dressing was phenomenal.  Even better, when I dipped a piece of bread in it to sop up what was left.  HEAVEN.

If you haven't dove into making your own dressings, this is one to try first.  And if you don't care for basil you should be slapped around.  And if you still don't care for basil, try a simple half and half EVOO/Balsamic Vinaigrette!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


HCG.  I know by now most people have heard of this.  I know there are some very differing opinions of this "diet".  I know there aren't a whole lot of people who have enough willpower for it.  I wondered about it for a while but at the time only the injections prescribed by a doctor were available so I blew it off.  My mother eventually went on it (the injections), and it took me a whole year afterwards to see she kept the weight off before I actually decided I needed to know more for myself.  I am well aware that there are negative responses to this diet.  "How can anyone survive on 500 calories a day? That's so unhealthy!  You can't lose that weight that rapidly, its not safe!" etc. etc.  I am also well aware that there are people who tried it and didn't like it, couldn't handle it, made them sick, etc.  This isn't a story to make you just go out and buy HCG.  Because if you aren't willing to commit the entire time to it for a true reset, you will fail. Period.  Just settle down there sassy and let me just tell you MY story!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

red, green, lean

The bottles aren't mine, I SWEAR!
This isn't even Saturday, either!
The apples and tomatoes are being divas and asked not to be photo'd. 
Lately I have been working reaaaaaal hard on getting my diet squared away.  When I say diet, I don't mean "Oh, let me starve and not eat anything at all so I can lose weight.", I mean my regular foods.  With the current workout I am doing, I need to eat a lot of proteins and junk so I can't just eat less and call it good.  However, it feels like I am holding onto the extra carbs and I decided to do some digging and figure things out.  How can I cut carbs from an already low-carb plan?  Where is the extra sugar coming from?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cans, cans, cans!

Look at these beauties!

In the last couple weeks, I have spent some time watching food documentaries and sharing them with my family.  After watching, we are even more open to trying to shop solely from the Farmer's Market.  I hadn't been taking photos of all our shopping days because, how boring to see weekly pick-ups?  However, this Saturday's shopping extravaganza was the largest one yet!  We are trying  to avoid the store (Kroger, Country Mart) at all costs, though with certain things it's pretty impossible.  I don't think I can make rice paper and we aren't in big enough of a town where our market provides cheeses....yet.  I already make bread for Goose each week but wouldn't it be nice to buy local, instead of worrying that there's GMO's or corn by-product in it? Basically, if we can get it at the market or the Nature Girls store, then we are good.  Some of these things this week were purchased with intent to can and start stocking up our pantry.  I made an impulse buy this week and bought a bag of peaches.  I don't even eat peaches!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Because I want to get old.

People who truly have jumped on the "healthy bandwagon" usually have reasons why they did.  I'm not talking the fad dieters who choose to drop a few lbs this month, or join a workout group for a month and quit after.  I mean the people who had their eyes opened right up and slapped in the face with "you NEED to get better for YOU".

Here's my reason.  I don't like divulging this as a conversation starter, I don't want to be pitied.  In fact, most people would never know or guess that I have a disease.  I don't tell this story for pity and I refuse to let it define me.  But it is a part of me, and a major factor in my health changes no matter how big or small they are and will be.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


We went to the market yesterday.  I didn't take photos because one of the tiny humans had an emergency allergy issue and used my curtains as a snot rag/food napkin the other day and my pretty backdrop is currently in the dryer.  Gotta love washable things.  I don't think I ever want fancy enough curtains that I can't just toss in the washer.  I like to be lazy.  Trust me though, I got a lot of green!  Two bags of lettuce, honey (as if Goose needed a fourth jar of honey!), green onions, one tomato (yes one.  Skeptical Goose didn't know if he'd like greenhouse grown maters) and bison rib eye steaks.  I then took him right over to my latest find, Nature Girls.  It's a small local health foods store.  Not like Whole Foods, but good enough for us not lucky enough to be near one or Trader Joe's.  I had wanted Goose to check out the meat prices because I mostly suck at it.  There, we ended up with some kale, shitake mushrooms, cheese, and the little gem I found, Frozen Kefir.  Several times I heard him say "ooooh we need to come back for THAT!" I was too busy trying to show him all the things, and he was just focused on the mushrooms and tomatoes and safflower oil.

We were actually out shopping for an HDMI cable if you can believe that but I am good at saying, "oh we just should stop here since it's on the way", and before you know it I have drug  you all over the place shopping for things you didn't have on your list.  *points to self* IMPULSE BUYER!  Since he had to see if there was such a cable at Walmart, I ended up with an okay batch of asparagus too.  By the end of it all, we had to go to three different stores for the HDMI cable, and Goose wildly proclaimed that we were going all over the place back and forth across town.  "Making a star all over the town of Rolla", he said.  Whatever. Quality time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A very helpful tool: the tiny mighty Fitbit! UPDATE!

Back in October 2011, I decided I needed some help with counting my calories.  Not the calories I consumed.  The ones I burned.  I used Calorie Count for what seemed ages, but it only counted my caloric intake of foods, not what I was putting out.  It was ideal for food journals which works really well and I encourage everyone to write what they eat down but I needed more.  I also wanted something that was convenient to wear and would register my video workouts.  I had looked at some of the HRM watches (which I was skeptical about because really I just wanted to do the calories...I can measure my own heart rate thankyouverymuch), and even considered a Nike + Sportband but it only registered a pace walk, meaning if I am standing in my living room doing TurboFire, it wouldn't show up that I did anything.  I also feared that it wouldn't show me on a treadmill in case I get lucky enough to twist Goose's arm into one someday.  Thinking ahead for the future here people!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do you have one? You should.

Do you know what  this is? A lifesaver that's what.  I got this pressure cooker for my birthday last year.  Normally I don't ask for appliances for holidays...well okay I didn't ask for this one either.  I had no idea about them!  It came in the mail from my dad, and at first I was like "Whaa? How do I use this?"  Then I tried it.  *angelic voices from above*

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Saturday mornings have meaning again!

YAY! The Farmer's Market is back in business!  I have been looking forward to it ever since we started shopping there last summer.  It got pretty bad, we were buying ALL THE THINGS it seemed.  Walmart sacks full of tomatoes, and cardboard boxes full of sweet onions every.single.weekend.  It's really become a staple in our house these days.  I just love knowing my food is local and clean and fresh, now that I am better educated.  Here's what we got this day!

Ooooh! So pretty!

Get it together!

I've been on the health craze for a while now, and thought to myself "SELF! WHY YU NO KEEP ALL THINGS YU DO IN ONE PLACE?"  So, here I am, collecting the things I have learned, tested, loved, hated, failed, succeeded and everything in between into one happy place.  If you are like the 3498379 other zillions of people trying to make a better you, then feel free to hear me out with my little bits of wisdoms I have learned along the way.  If you don't want to, I don't care. I'll pull down your underwear.