Archive for Paleo Diet Tips

My Typical Daily Paleo Menu

People often ask me what I typically eat every day on the Paleo diet so I thought I would share my Paleo menu for today to give you an idea. My goal is always 9 cups of fruits & veggies a day. When I say this most people say… “I could never do that!”. It really is not as hard as it sounds and you don’t feel like you are eating like a rabbit either!

Now that is not to say I don’t miss the mark some days, but it is a goal I try to attain as often as possible. Some days I may only get 6 cups in, but that is still way more than the average person.

The reason I try to eat this way is for my health and disease prevention. You just feel so much better when you load up on veggies and get all those delicious vitamins and nutrients into your body! Plus, it is tasty too!

So here is my Paleo menu for today:

Breakfast:

egg fried tomatoes recipe

Egg Fried Tomatoes. (1 – 1 1/2 cup tomatoes per serving)

Bowl of fresh berries (1 cup) If I don’t eat them all in one sitting then I snack on them throughout the morning.

Lunch:

green salad

BIG green salad, usually with some fruit and nuts added for variety and I most often use flavored olive oils and either lemon juice or flavored balsamic vinegar as the dressing. Yummy! Sometimes I will add in leftover meat or fish if I have it in the fridge. A heaped dinner plate of salad is about 3 cups.

Dinner:

Paleo dinner

Today it is mashed Japanese sweet potatoes/parsnips (1 cup), steamed eggplant/red peppers(1/2 cup) and 3 cups spinach that has been steamed (you can see how much it reduces in volume when steamed but still retains the nutrients of the 3 cups) and diced ham.

So today I actually exceeded my goal by half a cup, eating 9 1/2 cups of veggies and fruit and if I am hungry in the evening I will snack on some berries & nuts if I want sweets or make some zucchini chips if I want something salty. It really is not hard to consume larger volumes of veg if you set your mind to it. You can also see that I had a variety of foods that were both satisfying and delicious!

 

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Easy Homemade Butter in a Jar

homemade butter in a jarHomemade Butter is one of those things that most people never think to make for themselves. I always imagined it was a long drawn out process that wasn’t worth the effort but I was wrong! It is so easy to make homemade butter in a jar that even a child can do it. I do recommend that if you have kids that you include them in this activity. They think it is fun and even I am amused by watching the cream become butter.

It only takes about 5 minutes if your cream is room temperature or 20-30 minutes if the cream is cold and you can do it while watching your favorite TV show or talking on the phone. It’s also light exercise for your arms too. The end results is the most delicious unsalted butter you have ever tasted! You could salt it if you really wanted to, but I love the creamy taste without the salt and I normally buy salted butter. One tip though, because it doesn’t have salt as a preservative it does have a shorter shelf life, but I make it up in smaller batches and have yet to have it outlast it’s shelf life. Just keep it refrigerated between uses. It doesn’t take long to soften up when you take it out of the fridge.

An added benefit to making your own butter is that you also get the most delicious sweet buttermilk that you can use in salad dressings, marinades and for cooking.

Easy Homemade Butter in a Jar

Ingredients:

35% heavy cream (whipping cream)

Yup, That’s it!

Equipment:

A jar.

So far so good, right?

Directions:

Put the cream in a jar and shake.

I know I have made it sound so simple…but it really IS that simple!

Tips for making homemade butter in a jar:

  • a 1/2 pint of cream will yield approx. 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I use a 2 cup mason jar for 1 cup of cream. You can do it in larger batches but make sure there is plenty of “shake” room to churn the butter in the jar. The jar should not be more than half full of cream.
  • letting your cream come to room temperature will mean less shaking time. You can use it cold, but that means a longer workout ­čÖé not always a bad thing.
  • it will seem like nothing is happening at first but then suddenly everything will get really thick and it will seem like the cream is not shaking anymore…keep going, you are almost there. Shake twice as hard.
  • Suddenly you will hear sloshing in the jar. Tada! The butter is separating from the buttermilk at this stage. Carefully drain off the liquid, put the lid back on and shake a little bit more. You want to get as much of the buttermilk out of the butter as possible.
  • now drain off the final amount of liquid and plop the remaining butter into a storage dish and refrigerate until it is solid.
  • if you are going to salt the butter, you do it at this stage. Just sprinkle with a small amount of salt and work it into the butter. (seriously I don’t know why you would though)

There you have it…you have just made homemade butter in a jar and it will be the creamiest most delicious butter you have ever tasted! It tastes so much better than the stuff you buy in the store!

 

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Paleo Diet- Is it Right for You?

Paleo Diet- What it is not:

  • The Paleo diet is not a weight loss diet, although anyone who is overweight will lose weight.
  • It is not a fad diet
  • It is not about counting calories
  • It is not about low fat

Paleo Diet – What is it?:

  • It is a lifestyle change
  • The Paleo diet provides more nutrition for your body than any other diet including the heart association and diabetes association diets
  • It is designed to fuel our bodies the way we are genetically designed to eat
  • It is about eliminating foods that our bodies cannot properly digest
  • The Paleo diet is about reducing our risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and all other diseases that have been scientifically linked to diet and lifestyle

Is the Paleo Diet right for you?

Let’s face it, we all eat. We eat to fuel our bodies so we don’t die of starvation. That is the sole purpose of consuming food but for many people, food has become much more than fuel. For some it has become a means of receiving comfort and pleasure. Since the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry our society has been looking for cheaper, more abundant food sources. This has caused humans to stray from our natural diet and consume foods that we were not genetically designed to eat. This has caused us to become ill.

We know that if we feed a cow a diet of only meat, it would get sick. If we feed a cat a diet of only vegetables it would get sick. Why then do we not recognize that if we ourselves eat foods we were not intended to eat we will get sick too? In order to answer these questions, scientists have gone back to discover the diets of early man to see what exactly they ate to stay healthy and thrive.

It has been proven that early man, or cavemen, did not suffer from the diseases that typically kill humans today. There was no heart disease, obesity, diabetes or cancer. Cavemen did not die of “wasting diseases” the way we do. This was because they understood nutrition and how to stay healthy. Yes, they did die at an earlier age than we do, but they died of injuries, infections and at the hands of predators. Think back to your childhood. I am sure that there was a time or two when you may have had broken bones or simple infections that may very well have killed you if you did not take antibiotics. Those are the types of illnesses that would have shortened a caveman’s life. They are not directly related to their diet as our modern illnesses are.

We have adapted to eating these foods and chemical additives but we have not evolved to eat them. That is the big difference. Genetically we have not changed in thousands and thousands of years. These foods that we cannot handle are causing us to starve our bodies of essential nutrients. As a result, we are not a healthy society.

It is only when we return to our intended diet that we can rid ourselves of these threats to our longevity. So to answer the question, is the Paleo diet right for you? The answer is yes, you are human and you are meant to eat this way.

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Paleo Diet- Meal Planning is the Key to Success

Paleo Diet Meal Planning Tips

paleo diet meal planningAside from all the raw veggies, nuts, berries and greens you consume in a Paleo diet, there is a great deal of cooking to be done since the majority of your energy and proteins will come from meat, fish and eggs. Now you could go totally caveman and eat them raw (gag!) but most of us prefer our foods at least lightly cooked.
I enjoy cooking but I do not always have the time during the busy work week. Therefore I do most of my cooking on the weekends. For me, this is the difference between staying on track or falling off the wagon of my Paleo diet.
I plan out my week as I am doing my weekly shopping so I can take advantage of items on sale. Others may rely on lists and that is okay if it works for you.
What works for me is having a wide variety of meals prepared ahead and stored in the freezer. I use the foil baking dishes with lids for storage. They are not very eco-friendly but they are recyclable. I just find they stack really well in the freezer compartment of my fridge and I can write the contents on the lid making it easy at a glance to choose my meal for the evening.
I am also a huge fan of homemade soups which is very often what I eat for lunch. These I store in the freezer in partially filled Mason jars. (allowing enough head room for the soup to expand when frozen)
On the weekend, usually Saturday morning I will start cooking. First thing I do is to start my soup. I put my beef bones or chicken carcass in a big pot, cover with water and turn it on to simmer and create a nutritious broth. As I prepare vegetables for other dishes I usually throw the cuttings into the pot. Most people just throw them out but there is a lot of nutrients and flavor in the trimmings so why waste them when you have a soup pot already simmering? This includes the stems of any herbs too since they are packed with flavor.
Next I turn my attention to any complicated recipes I may have planned or anything that takes a long time to cook. This may include popping a roast or whole chicken into the oven. I usually cook both a roast and a chicken so I have a variety of cooked meat on hand during the week. Next I prep my veggies for the week and make snacks. If your veggies are already washed and cut up in advance you always have a raw veggie snack available and if you plan to make a stir-fry during the week, your prep work is already done and dinner can be made in 5 minutes.
I always make a low carb breakfast casserole because I find breakfast to sometimes be the most challenging meal for me because of time constraints.
Once my cooking an veggie prep is done for the week I just line up my containers on the counter and fill them up. Put the lids on and label them. Now aside from the occasional stir fry, my cooking is all done for the week, there is no danger I will be tempted to cheat because my meals are ready and waiting for me. When I come home from work I just pull something out of the freezer and pop it in the oven then head for the showe, catch up on some email or watch the tv until my meal is heated up.
Do you have any Paleo diet meal planning tips to share? Leave a comment below because other Paleo buddies are always looking for handy tips.

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Paleo Diet – Who Should You Believe?

Paleo Diet Information Overload

paleo diet right or wrongI am sure that if you are like me you have done a great deal of reading on the Paleo Diet and are as confused as I was about the varying opinions on what should and should not be included in your diet.
It seems that every author and every website owner has a different twist on the Paleo or Primal diet. So who should you believe?
No matter which mentor you choose to guide you along the path of your Paleo diet, their ideas and beliefs will be different from the next person’s. Does this mean one is right and one is wrong? Of course not, it just means they are interpreting things differently or they have found that one way worked better for them.
What you need to do is read everything you can. Buy all of the various books and then figure out what works best for you and your body. You will find that your ideal plan may end up being a little from this book, a little from that book and a little of your own intuition.

Paleo Diet Differences of Opinions

For example: Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet says you should avoid sweet potatoes while Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint says you should eat them in moderation. Another difference in opinions is the inclusion of dairy in your diet. Cordain says no dairy and Sisson says include it if it is whole fat if you are not lactose intolerant or have healthy insulin levels.
My point is this…Experiment yourself. Find out what works best for you. I suggest sticking with a strict regimen when you first start out to get your body into that fat burning state and then begin experimenting with the “questionable” items and see how you do. Your body will let you know if it doesn’t tolerate it well. You will either have a carb crash when your insulin spikes and lowers, in which case your body is telling you not to include these foods or you will feel no metabolic change so you can feel free to consume them in moderation.
Beware though, some people are so passionate about their Paleo diet that they will pooh-pooh you for going against what they believe is the right way to do things. In the end, there is no right or wrong way that is consistent for every individual. Let your body be your guide to your Paleo diet and don’t worry about what others say. Only you know how you feel.

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Paleo Diet- Dealing With Cravings

Paleo Diet Tips to Help You Through Those First Days

paleo dietWhen you first start your Paleo Diet, learning to listen to your body can be difficult in the beginning stages because your brain will definitely  want to sabotage your efforts.
My second day on the Paleo diet I started getting weird cravings. Well, some people may not think they are weird, but they were to me. I am not normally a bread eater. Rarely did I ever buy bread or buns because I might eat one and then the rest would go to waste. It just wasn’t something that I craved.
Well, on the second evening of my Paleo diet I had an intense craving for a big soft fluffy slice of homemade white bread slathered in butter. I knew that this was all purely psychological but I would have killed for it LOL. (how’s that for primal?) If I had it in the house I am sure I would have consumed half a loaf and all of my efforts of the day would have been for nothing and I would be back to square one.
My brain had kicked in on a subconscious level and recognized that I hadn’t taken in many carbs for a couple of days. It had been pre-programmed to get energy from the carbs it was readily supplied on my previously conventional diet and when that carbs were in short supply it was telling me to load up. When I didn’t give in to that craving it figured out a way to get energy from my fat reserves and I lost 2 pounds.
The fact is that until your brain is re-programmed to instinctively use fat as an energy source you will get intense cravings for starchy, sugary foods. You must try to resist giving in to the cravings because if you do, the re-programming takes much longer. It is like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. If you give in even once, then they will not learn to stop that behavior because there is just a small chance that you may give in this time and give them what they want.

Paleo Diet Tips

  1. Don’t make it easy to give in to cravings. Rid your pantry, cupboards and fridge of all disallowed foods. If you have forbidden items in your house it will take Herculean strength not to give into intense cravings. Most of us do not have that much willpower.
  2. Drink a glass of water. Our bodies can’t always distinguish thirst from hunger. Try slamming back a big glass of water whenever you get a craving. If it was thirst the craving should go away, if not, the simple act of hand to mouth action may minimize the need and water will help you feel full. If this did not help, wait 20 minutes and then grab a snack that is allowed. Making yourself wait those 20 minutes will eventually diminish your desire for instant gratification and help your brain to distinguish between craving and need. It may┬á kick in to burn fat and after 20 minutes you will not feel hungry anymore, problem solved.
  3. Always keep snacks prepared and readily available. If I sit down to watch TV in the evening I make a point of having a bowl with 2-3 cups of raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes) or kale chips on the end table beside me to munch on. My goal is to complete that entire bowl over the course of the evening. You are much less likely to have a craving if you are already constantly nibbling on super healthy snacks. This is one way of ensuring you are consuming enough veggies.
  4. Never run out of food. This is a sure fire way to fall off the wagon. If you are in the midst of a food craving and have to dash to the store to stock up do you really think you will only pick up good foods? NO! you will head straight for the isle that holds the food you are currently craving. You will rationalize that it is okay just this once. Don’t set yourself up to cheat.
  5. Pick yourself up and get back on track if you slip. Okay,let’s be honest, we all have our moments when that little devil on our shoulder is just too persuasive and we give in to a craving. the key is moderation. If chocolate is your daemon then have a small square of 70% cocao dark chocolate. Whatever it is that you simply cannot give up then have a very tiny portion to get you through once a week as a reward for staying faithful the rest of the week. Even if you slip up more than once, forgive yourself and move on. Do not see it as an opportunity to give up. Remember you are in this for the long haul. Eventually your brain and your body will catch up to each other and the cravings will lessen or disappear.

The important thing is to keep your long-term goals in mind and get through this first phase one day at a time. The Paleo diet is not something you are doing as a fad. It is a lifestyle change. Your body and brain have been programmed for years to eat inappropriately. You can’t expect to make such wholesale changes to your diet without encountering a few bumps in the road. Just keep pushing onwards. Celebrate your successes and forgive and forget your slip ups. A healthy body and mind is awaiting you the more you embrace the Paleo diet lifestyle.

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Paleo Diet – Share the Love -Q&A

paleo dietWhen I first started my Paleo Diet I had a ton of questions and concerns. I began reading many books (which I highly recommend you do) and visiting all kinds of websites to gather more information but the resource I found the most helpful when I had difficulty came from people just like you and me. They were on their journey to the Paleo Diet lifestyle too and generously shared their experiences with others in the form of comments on blogs and posts in forums.

There were a ton of delicious Paleo diet recipes shared, tips to help you overcome hurdles, suggestions and even a question or two that I could answer to help someone else out. So I invite you to share the love with a fellow Paleo diet buddy.

So join the community by leaving a comment, question or just say “Hi” and share your experience.