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

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Inspiration from popular_paleo on Instagram

broccoli

My daughter-in-law recently turned me on to popular_paleo on Instagram and today she posted about her leftover rotisserie chicken that she mixed in with her Brussel sprouts. I thought, “Hey! I have some broccoli salad and leftover chicken breast!” So I made a delicious, quick meal out of both after mixing them together with a half of diced avocado. It took me about dos minutos to mix together and was yummy.  What is my point? Find people on social media to get inspiration when you need it and share what you make as well. This real food journey we are on is revolutionary! People are out there that don’t know how to survive without processed food and have no clue that whole wheat sandwiches with low-fat, vegetable oil mayo is not good for them.  Be a real food messenger and promoter.

Make Bone Broth – It’s Good For You

Do I understand the nutritional minutia behind the benefits of bone broth? No, I don’t. My degree was in Social Studies and Japanese, not biology or nutrition. While I eagerly read tremendous amounts of nutritional texts, blogs and pubmed.com articles focused on nutrition, I don’t get the majority of the science specific details contained in the text. However, I have gleaned over the past few years there are some easy ways to add nutrient dense food to your daily diet that taste fantastic. Want the broad strokes of why you should eat bone broth? Here you go:

  1. Boosts your immunity
  2. Helps heal your gut
  3. Has lots of good minerals and ‘stuff’ (amino acids) from the bones that you don’t get in other food
  4. Has some good fat

Want the specifics of why you should include bone broth in your real food life? Read here:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/03/health-benefits-of-bone-broth.html

Here’s a recent media article too:

http://wellandgood.com/2014/11/05/why-new-yorkers-will-be-sipping-bone-broth-in-coffee-cups-this-winter/

I’ve started drinking a small bowl of bone broth for breakfast when I don’t feel like making breakfast. Lazy I know, but my knitting demands are high this time of year. I also include a few cups whenever I make stew or pot roast in the crockpot. It makes for some amazingly satisfying cold weather eats. It is also incredibly easy to make. The ‘set it and forget’ phrase from an infomercial comes to mind. Here is how I make my beef bone broth. I do beef bones as they are the highest quality of bones I can get easily.

Beef Bone Broth

3 lbs or so of beef leg & joint bones

Crockpot big enough to accommodate them covered in water

2 tbls apple cider vinegar

I lay the bones as flat as I can and completely cover them with water (I use filtered) + about ½ inch extra water. Add the apple cider vinegar. Set the crockpot on low and leave it alone for 24 hours or so. I usually add 1 cup each of onions, celery, carrots and 2 tsp to 1 tbls of salt (to your taste) and cook for a couple more hours. I then strain all the veggies & bones out and put the crockpot in the fridge to cool. When cool, I scrape off the top layer of fat and toss it (some leave that fat). I put some the gelatinous looking golden colored bone broth in the fridge to eat during the week and if I have extra I bag it in Ziplocs and freeze. That way I can add it to my pot roast, soups or stews later. In the summer I put the crockpot out on the patio as the smell can get a bit strong and the extra heat source isn’t needed.

I’ve made it a few times with pastured chicken bones and it is delicious as well. Happy bone broth making!

Homemade Mayonaise- It’s a Real Food Life must!

MAYONNAISE

  • 2 Egg Yolks (pastured eggs are best)
  • 3/4 cup LIGHT olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Separate the eggs and put egg yolks in mixing container with mustard, salt, apple cider vinegar, and ¼ cup of the light olive oil.
  2. Put your immersion blender into the mixing container and pulse it a couple times. Then, keeping the immersion blender on, slowly pour (think drizzle) the light olive oil into the mixing container until it thickens. Pouring the oil in too fast will keep it from emulsifying and you will have a watery consistency that is very unmayo like.
  3. For about a minute you will pour the oil in while you mix with the immersion blender, moving it up and down while mixing. It will start to thicken up after about 20 seconds or so. Sometimes I have to keep mixing for a bit after all the oil is in to incorporate all the oil.

This is a short video of me using the immersion blender to mix the mayonnaise.

*Mayo fails are not uncommon. I had about 50% of my mayo attempts fail until I settled on this method and these ingredients. I have a harder time getting good emulsification when I use lemon juice in place of apple cider vinegar. I have also had success using my Oster blender, but I have to pour the oil in more slowly and it takes 2-3 minutes to make. I get about a 8 ounces of mayo following the recipe above, which is just about right for as long as it keeps (two weeks).

Making your own mayonnaise is incredibly easy and essential if you are dedicated to a real food life. I have been unable to find any mayo in stores that doesn’t have at least two objectionable ingredients. Below is the Best Food Mayonnaise label copied from their website.

http://www.bestfoods.com/product/detail/96361/real-mayonnaise

SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, VINEGAR, SALT, SUGAR, LEMON JUICE, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY), NATURAL FLAVORS. GLUTEN-FREE.

This used to be my go-to mayo before I jettisoned, and rightfully so, soy and other toxic seed oils from my diet. I feel so bad when people think they are being healthy when they use soy, canola, corn and other highly and unnaturally processed oils. Tip: If you want to be healthy, you have to eat real food. If you are trying to figure out from a label on a package of food if it is healthy, it is processed. Put it down and go get real food. In my house I use coconut oil, olive oil and ghee for cooking and salad dressings.

Have fun making your own mayo!

 

Paleo Football Snacks – Go Seahawks!

SeahawksHats

We are so lucky to have such delicious and healthy real food choices for football snacks.  When you can’t turn to chips and salsa, what do you do? Here four of my favorite snack foods.

1) Deviled Eggs (mix homemade mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, onion & dill pickles)

2) Honey Garlic Chicken Wings a la  http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/02/recipe-honey-garlic-chicken-wings.html   I like to marinade them overnight and cook them on our Traeger Grill. Definitely a family favorite.

3) Sliced Veggies (cucumbers, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) & Guacamole Dip (mix avocado, lime, cilantro, salt, pepper, onion, garlic powder)

4) Stuffed Mushrooms (Mix cooked sausage, finely chopped mushroom stems, almond meal, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper-stuff mushrooms & bake)

These are just a few of my standards for football gatherings and are always eaten up quickly. We are fortunate to have a seemingly infinite resource pool for real food recipes. Here are a few good ones:

http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex

http://everydaypaleo.com/food/

http://paleomg.com

Plan ahead for the next big game and enjoy not only treating yourself, but knowing you are nourishing your body at the same time.

Plantain Pancakes

ppan

Sarah Ballantyne, PhD,thepaleomom.com, saved our holiday breakfasts with her Perfect Paleo Pancake recipe. Seems silly, but when our family transitioned to paleo (real food) we were stymied on what to do for special occasion breakfasts.  I thought I’d never use my pancake grill again.  They cook like, look like and almost feel like gluten bomb pancakes. We like a berry compote over sunflower seed butter as a topping. I use a little honey or real maple syrup in the berries to sweeten them, but you can leave that out if you are cutting out sugar.

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/09/perfect-paleo-pancakes.html

I followed the recipe the first few times, but now I just toss the ingredients into the food processor and eyeball all the measurements and they turn out great. I’ve also used squash & bananas instead of plantains, but they need a little nut butter or sunflower seed butter to hold them together and they don’t cook as easily.

They can be stored in the fridge and reheated as well if you are looking to maximize the resistant starch available in green plantains.

Give them a try!

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