The Magic Pill is Real Food – So you’ve decided to be healthy. Now what?

So much information, so little time. We all want to be healthier, but with so many experts telling you what you should be eating or what supplements you should be taking it can be confusing. I say strip it down to the basics. Just eat real food.

What is real food as I define it? Sustainably raised meat, poultry & eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds. What isn’t it? Processed food like bread, pasta, cereal, or pretty much anything with a label. Most of what’s in the grocery store actually. Typical SAD (Standard American Diet) food. Does it mean you can never have a treat again? No. Once you make improvements in your health, you can have occasional splurges. For me personally, my digestive health and overall wellbeing improved so much typical SAD food isn’t even tempting. I’ve become a much better cook and I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy whole food based treats.

I’m not a nutritionist and have no medical credentials, so what I offer here is not in any way medical or nutritional advice. I think of myself as a whole food facilitator. When you have decided to make improvements in your diet, it is hard work. Most of us are so entrenched in our food preparation and eating habits we don’t even know where to start. I’ve been down the path and regained my health. I no longer rely on allergy medicine, heart burn medication, Nsaids or acetaminophen to feel operational. My migraine frequency continues to diminish.  So I want to help you if you want to try it out! If you are ready…dive in.

STEP 1: Clean the crap out of your kitchen. Box up unopened SAD food and take it to the food bank. If it is opened, throw it out. This includes cereal, bread, crackers, chips, anything with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils-canola, soy, safflower, corn, etc. JUST GET RID OF IT! This is not negotiable. If it is in your house, you will eat it. Set yourself up for success.

STEP 2: Meal plan. This includes making shopping lists and cooking several meals for the week. Plan on at least five hours to get yourself set up for the week. The upside is you’ll have free time during the week because you’ll have planned so well. No need to spend a bunch of money on cookbooks to start off, there are plenty of free resources to get you started.  Here are some great links for recipes and information on real food eating:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/    http://everydaypaleo.com/    http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/                                                   http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex

STEP 3: Sleep. At least 8-9 hours a night. This is not negotiable. Get a sleep mask and earplugs if it helps.

STEP 4: Get more sunshine & increase your activity. Find a walking/workout buddy. If that isn’t an option, use a website like http://www.meetup.com to find other people in your area that have the same health and fitness goals. Make plans, not excuses.

That’s all I have for now.  Hope it helps! If you have questions or need tips or encouragement, e-mail me at: haclife@outlook.com

When a Whole 30 Isn’t Enough

Starting your journey to health with a Whole 30  is a brilliant idea. The information and community support is tremendous. You will feel better and understand the power of eating REAL food. What I’ve learned though is sometimes it isn’t enough. What? Giving up all the food that makes you joyful isn’t enough? That’s crazy talk! Well, it is my truth. Would I go back to eating processed food and too much sugar? No way.

My “only” lingering health issue after several years of real food eating is migraines. I have abnormal ones. They come on first with a visual aura and last 2-4 hours. Occasionally I will go months without one. Sometimes I get a couple a month. If I had to guess, I’d say they have something to do with my hormones as I’ve addressed diet & lifestyle. However I haven’t had to take antibiotics for five years and I cannot remember the last time I was really sick. Oh wait I do remember; it was when the hospital made me get a flu shot before I could see my new granddaughter four years ago. I felt crappy for a few days, but was not bed ridden.

My point of writing this is to say even though your health might not be perfect after you clean up your diet, it will be improved in noticeable ways. The bottom line is you can’t take a pill or supplement and keep making poor food choices if you want to improve your health, lose weight or feel better long term. For improvement in your health to need to heal your gut. And for healing to occur in your gut, you have to eat real food, have good sleep and stress relief hygiene (yoga, meditation), and move. Walk outdoors and lift heavy things and surround yourself with good people. You have to do this for a long time before you “cheat.” Maybe a year, maybe two, maybe three. I was forty when I found out I was gluten and dairy intolerant and had what I now know was the beginnings of autoimmune issues. Real food, real activity, real sleep is a lifestyle, not a diet. You are kidding yourself if you think one Whole 30 is going to fix you forever. It is a stepping stone to get you on track for having a better quality of life. You have damaged your gut over a lot of years and you need to honor yourself enough to give it time to heal. Use the wealth of free information on sites like www.Robbwolf.com , www.thepaleomom.com, www.marksdailyapple.com, www.everydaypaleo.com, and www.radicatamedicine.com to get started. Check out the books links in my resource section for help too. You don’t have to pay for meal plans or shopping lists, because people who live this way (like me) want to help you. Recruit family and friends to do it with you and have planning dates and batch cooking parties. It is work, but it is beyond worth it. If you put in the work, down the road you can have some of the celebratory treats on special occasions, but you might not want them.

Why I’ll Never Go Back

Want to know a secret? I’ll never give up eating real food even though it’s not always easy. Why? When I started this journey to being healthy in 2003 I was as heavy as I had been 9 months pregnant.  I was taking allergy and heartburn meds, antihistamines, ibuprofen and migraine medication regularly. I didn’t want to be that person. You know, the one that thinks our health just happens to us. Migraines, heartburn, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and many other chronic health issues most doctors want us to think are only controllable, not preventable or curable. Your lifestyle choices dictate your health. Most people don’t want to take that responsibility on, which I find excruciatingly frustrating, but I believe you can massively improve your health through what you choose to put in your mouth. Here are some personal improvements in my health that I’ve experienced:

1) I don’t get tired during the day

2) Migraines down from 20 a year to 5 or less and the severity of them hugely reduced

3) No heartburn

4) No itchy skin

5) Healthy weight

6) No cysts

7) No thyroid issues

8) No gallbladder pain/problems

9) No constipation

So, bottom line? To me it is definitely worth it. Plus, you get to eat yummy food! I feel best following a 95% of the time real food, 5% ‘cheat’ foods plan. However I never cheat on gluten and avoid sugary, high glycemic foods as I’ve discovered they can trigger migraines. Here are some food pics:

food

Top Left: Vegetable stir fry (cabbage, kale, onions, mushrooms), bacon, duck egg, avocado.

Top Right: Pizza w/ ham, onion & broccoli on a cauliflower & tapioca crust. I did use Daiya ‘cheese’ as I’m dairy intolerant. I consider it a processed food so it is a once or twice a month choice.

Bottom Left: Roasted chicken thighs & sweet potatoes

Bottom Right: Roasted beets with fennel, tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper.

How do your food choices make you feel?

I’m so hungry, I can eat crap food. #makeaplannotexcuses

Quick post tonight. I was going to take pictures, but I was too hungry. My message tonight is:  being hungry (or hangry) is NOT an excuse to eat crap food. After Ellensburg CrossFit took 4th at the Elysian Games today in Seattle and I got in my car to drive home, I realized I was hangry. What would I do? I had an hour drive home. I made the decision to grab the ingredients for a chop salad when I stopped to get my hubby his whole, raw milk at the local food co-op. It took me ten minutes to shop and ten minutes to fix it. Faster than a restaurant? I say yes. Less expensive? Yes. Better quality, nutrient dense food? Yes. I bought organic lettuce, Applegate Farms meat and tossed myself a quick, yummy dinner. Thank you to myself. 🙂

Be good to yourself and your gut. You are worth it.

Real Food Babies

While I could extensively discuss the glories of grandparenthood, I’ll just say this; it is even better then everyone says it is. I’ve decided to quit knitting Seahawks hats for them long enough to talk about what they eat.

SeahawksHats

I couldn’t ask for a more well fed 19 month old granddaughter. I feel so lucky to have children who understand the role and importance of feeding real, nutrient dense food to their babies. And that they were willing to educate themselves from numerous sources, but mainly through Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. (www.chriskresser.com) They started her off of course on breast milk, introducing no foods before six months and then began soft boiled egg yolks for a week, then avocado and surprisingly liver which she enjoyed. She currently consumes the healthiest looking meals I’ve seen a kid eat. Here are two of the meals she ate last Sunday.

realfoodbaby2 realfoodbaby3     Breakfast: Organic kale, zuchhini & onions cooked with bacon, chicken sausage & a soft fried pastured egg. She also enjoyed some fresh blueberries and strawberries after she finished her breakfast.  Water for a beverage.

realfoodbaby Dinner: Meatloaf (see previous post for ingredients) & raw veggie salad. Water for a beverage.

Now, baby boy is 7 months old and has absolutely no interest in anything other than Mama’s milk. I wish I had a picture of his face when we were trying to give him some sweet potatoes. Let’s just say he was obviously opposed to them. 🙂 His mom’s plan is to try putting some small chunks of soft food choices (avocado, sweet potato or banana) and let him choose what to try. He puts absolutely everything in his mouth  so maybe he’ll do better when he’s shoving it in there.  Until then he’ll be fine eating breast milk as he is quite the big boy already.

The reason I thought it was important to talk about this is because kids will eat real food if that is what you give them. While they are babies and toddlers the caregivers are the ones who make food choices for them. They will eat good, whole, real food if that is what you provide. There are tons of resources for parents around this subject. Check out the following links for ideas:

http://paleoparents.com/

http://www.thepaleomom.com/

http://chriskresser.com/

Happy day to all and GO SEAHAWKS!

Offal is an essential part of a real food life. Yipee. #eatliver

This is only my second post. I wasn’t sure if it was too soon to introduce the idea of offal, but it’s what I did today so that is what I’ll write about. I also made yet another batch of soup for my daughter who is currently in week four of the GAPs protocol, but that is a different story and recipe.

I’ve been at this real food life for about four years now. Gluten and dairy free for six. Getting to where I am at, especially if you are coming from a typical SAD life, takes time. It took me at least a year before I worked up the courage to take on liver. Anyway, I thought I’d share how I’ve learned to deal with it.

We all know we need to eat our sustainably raised offal, but it is so gross. Right? I say get over it, ‘cuz you really need to be eating it. Today I did what I do to add offal to my families diet. I prefer to hide it in entree’s like meatloaf, stew or meatballs (or as I like to call them Offal Balls). I keep it simple.

Thaw it:IMAG0936[1] Beef liver & heart (I cut out all the nasty tendons and grisly bits)

Cook it:IMAG0937[1] I like to pressure cook it. Only takes a few minutes + the cool down time.  Get the ventilation going though, because it is stinky.

Grind it:IMAG0938[1] Love my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. Vital kitchen tool.

Add it:IMAG0942[2]   I mixed it in with my meatloaf. Recipe below….

Freeze the excess for later use.IMAG0939[1]

And here is why you should be eating it, offal that is:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/04/why-everyone-should-be-eating-organ.html

HACLIFE Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef

½ lb breakfast sausage

1 ½ cup ground offal mix

¾ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

½ cup grated carrot

1 cup chopped kale

2 duck eggs or 3 chicken eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper (fine ground)

2 tsp paprika (omit if AIP)

1 TBLS garlic powder

1 TBLS Italian Seasoning Blend

Other stuff to add/substitute per your own taste if you like:

Worchestershire Sauce (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

Ketchup (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

½ cup almond meal

Grated zucchini

BBQ Sauce (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

Be adventurous. Meatloaf is pretty forgiving

Bake in whatever dish you want at 350 degrees until cooked. Usually 35-45 minutes, but that depends on your dish type. If I’m in a hurry I cook it at 375 degrees, cuz I’m tricky like that.

The Magic Pill is Real Food – So you’ve decided to be healthy. Now what?

So much information, so little time. We all want to be healthier, but with so many experts telling you what you should be eating or what supplements you should be taking it can be confusing. I say strip it down to the basics. Just eat real food.

What is real food as I define it? Sustainably raised meat, poultry & eggs, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds. What isn’t it? Processed food like bread, pasta, cereal, or pretty much anything with a label. Most of what’s in the grocery store actually. Typical SAD (Standard American Diet) food. Does it mean you can never have a treat again? No. Once you make improvements in your health, you can have occasional splurges. For me personally, my digestive health and overall wellbeing improved so much typical SAD food isn’t even tempting. I’ve become a much better cook and I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy whole food based treats.

I’m not a nutritionist and have no medical credentials, so what I offer here is not in any way medical or nutritional advice. I think of myself as a whole food facilitator. When you have decided to make improvements in your diet, it is hard work. Most of us are so entrenched in our food preparation and eating habits we don’t even know where to start. I’ve been down the path and regained my health. I no longer rely on allergy medicine, heart burn medication, Nsaids or acetaminophen to feel operational. My migraine frequency continues to diminish.  So I want to help you if you want to try it out! If you are ready…dive in.

STEP 1: Clean the crap out of your kitchen. Box up unopened SAD food and take it to the food bank. If it is opened, throw it out. This includes cereal, bread, crackers, chips, anything with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils-canola, soy, safflower, corn, etc. JUST GET RID OF IT! This is not negotiable. If it is in your house, you will eat it. Set yourself up for success.

STEP 2: Meal plan. This includes making shopping lists and cooking several meals for the week. Plan on at least five hours to get yourself set up for the week. The upside is you’ll have free time during the week because you’ll have planned so well. No need to spend a bunch of money on cookbooks to start off, there are plenty of free resources to get you started.  Here are some great links for recipes and information on real food eating:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/    http://everydaypaleo.com/    http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/                                                   http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex

STEP 3: Sleep. At least 8-9 hours a night. This is not negotiable. Get a sleep mask and earplugs if it helps.

STEP 4: Get more sunshine & increase your activity. Find a walking/workout buddy. If that isn’t an option, use a website like http://www.meetup.com to find other people in your area that have the same health and fitness goals. Make plans, not excuses.

That’s all I have for now.  Hope it helps! If you have questions or need tips or encouragement, e-mail me at: haclife@outlook.com