2

I realized it's been about 5-6 weeks since my recap on our Whole30 experience so I thought maybe I should touch base on it.  For the most part, we are still paleo.  🙂  Again, it's not something we follow strictly 100% , but we do find that the further we stray from it, the more physical symptoms (weight gain, swelling, digestive, etc.) we experience.  Therefor, other than a taste of something here and there, a bit of chocolate now and again (okay...sometimes more than now and again with the chocolate) we try to stick to the Paleo foods.

Here I am speaking mostly for my husband and I.   Not so much my children though the youngest really does not have much say at all, if any.  I have let him have an occasional whole milk yogurt and a few gluten-free snacks here and there.  He's allowed oatmeal.  I usually make Gluten Free oats but sometimes on Sunday morning I give him a packet of organic instant oats for the ease of getting ready for Liturgy in the  morning (he's 4 so he doesn't fast yet other than I try to keep it simple and no eggs or meat). Of course he eats the prosphora bread after liturgy on Sundays and had a bit of spaghetti the other day.  My other kids have a bit more leeway.  We're not exactly pushing Paleo onto our daughter who is home from college during the summer break, but she is eating Paleo meals when she is home.  I'm also limiting the amount of non-paleo snacks that I'm willing to buy her and her brother.  I buy them two yogurts per week and probably an average of 1-2 processed snacks that are not paleo - it's up to them whether they last all week or not.

I still feel I have kicked the sugar habit.  I'm sure some Whole30 Paleo fanatics would disagree with me since I have sugar and chocolate in the house.  But my sugar habit is sooooooo much less than it ever used to be that I pretty much consider it kicked.  I KNOW I still have to be careful.  I know if it's there and I'm stressed I'm GOING to eat it.  So I try really hard not to buy it at all or keep very low quantities of it around.  Chocolate is definitely my weakness.... especially after my husband and I found these wonderful delights!  They are available on Amazon but are much cheaper at Wegman's Grocery Store!!!

 

I have allowed and experimented a little with white potatoes and rice as well.  As long as we keep these items in moderation (rice only once a month or so), we seem to be able to handle it and keeping it so limited doesn't, in my opinion, allow it to build up and cause any unobservable issues.  My husband read a book which allows more starches such as white rice... obviously not a paleo book - and I haven't read it myself but he was convinced that white rice, on rare occasions would not be a big deal.  Thus far it isn't.  I'm skeptical....but willing to go with it.

So there you have it....  a brief summary of where we are right now with the whole paleo thing.  I'd say we do about 90% paleo.... and I think that's okay.  I think as long as we have in our minds a set limit (I won't do more than this much 'treating' with non-paleo foods) and stick to it, we'll be fine and be able to attain the health we want.  We'll need to keep ourselves in check, honestly, and rediscuss our observations and goals once in awhile...but for now, other than a few chocolate indulgences, I'd say we are doing really well and still loving PALEO!!  🙂

 

1

Sometimes my ideas come from questions from other bloggers or readers.  I had two ideas given to me by my readers in the last few weeks.  Today's post is in answer to a question posed in a comment and went something like this: "How do you center yourself and clear your mind before writing?  I have a tough time clearing my thoughts..."  I was in a rush that day so I'm not sure I answered my reader in a very organized fashion so I'd thought I'd address it again here today.

First off, I told my reader, it all depends!  The days are so different!  I am just getting back into this writing thing...  I'm very serious about it but I do still place my family and God first.  So the writing, as much as I would love to do it 16 hours a day sometimes  (I do need to sleep too) and my ideas keep spilling over into my cooking hours and homeschool hours, I need to just squeeze it in when other things have been addressed.  So sometimes my mind flows with ideas and other days not so much.

Most importantly,  an active writer should always have a notebook on hand.  I have my main notebook/journal that everything gets written in, but I also have one at my bedside, one in the car and one in my purse.  This way, no matter where I am, I have paper handy to write things down and can transfer it to my main idea journal later.  I'm thinking of starting a 3 ring binder...so I can categorize the ideas better.

Now when it comes to actual writing time, there are days I can sit and the ideas just come... no prepping needed.  But there are days that I do need to prep....set the mood so to speak so that I can get that mind ready to flow.

  • Try to have a writing space. One that is comfortable and hopefully away from too many distractions if at all possible.  Right now  my place is at my computer at a desk. (I always dream about my own little room or a small cabin, an oasis of sort,  out back with a big comfy couch, chair, pretty white curtains, gorgeous antique writing desk, a stash of chocolate, tea, a maid....oops....getting carried away...) Sometimes I move my laptop around if the mood suits.  But at my desk I am surrounded by my materials... my files of manuscripts and ideas, my folder of resources I've saved for blogging material, my pencils, paper, dictionary and The Synonym Finder and books on writing, etc.
  • These are the times I make sure I sit down at my desk with a nice hot cup of tea (that's my preference.... I'm sure coffee does nicely for others!) and perhaps a bit of chocolate (any form.... brownie, chocolate bar, chocolate covered almonds, hot chocolate if it's cold... it's chocolate... it works in any shape! ) or a yummy snack that will keep me satisfied and not pulled back into the kitchen if my mind drifts.  I pick something soothing.... this isn't necessarily my time for raw veggies or a salad ( though that might be good too depending on the day) but, in other words, something that will make me go "hmmmmm....that's nice!" and plant a smile on my face.
  • Another mood setting technique is music.  If I'm writing pertaining to picture books, I might put in something of my toddler's into the computer or CD player.... Burl Ives for instance or the Wiggles or Raffi.... something that makes me feel lighthearted and energetic.  If I'm writing about Orthodoxy or a picture book related to my faith, then faith music may be more appropriate.  If I'm writing for a middle grade chapter book or YA, then I might choose something more upbeat or even depressing...depending on the character I'm trying to invent.  If I'm blogging...well, it could be a whole range of music!
  • Sometimes a little reading is in order.  If I have more than a few minutes of writing time, I may take some time to read for 10 or 15 minutes first...let my mind drift into the land of make-believe to open it up to a world that is not filled with my stress laden daily tasks and challenges...it's relaxing and has an effect on the creative mind! Reading other blogs may help sometimes or a few picture books if that's what I'm going to be working on.  Sometimes another writer's words may trigger something for me.  I don't mean I take their idea...that's not cool.  But in reading other material, it may trigger something I can work with.  For example, if I were reading a non-fictional article about George Washington, it may cause me to recall that old tale of how he chopped down a cherry tree and I might think...hmmmm... what if I were to write a chapter book about a little boy who 'accidentally' cuts down his mother's favorite apple tree or maybe just mows down her flower garden the first time he mows the lawn?  Ideas can come that way!
  • Find the right time of day, if possible, that you write best.  That doesn't always work for me...with the little guy running around and homeschool needs that pop up and day to day life like cooking( cooking from scratch takes time but I'm working on ways to make that less time consuming). If I'm able to write in the morning, I do know that I tend to do better, especially for creative writing for picture books and such. So I'm working on trying to figure out how to do that.  I'm actually acquiring a babysitter for one time a week so I know I do get to do that morning time at least once in a while.
  • Write about what you are passionate about!  If you think you should write an article about oil drilling because that seems to spark a lot of interest in people but you don't really know much about it, nor do you care, well, for heaven's sake find something else to write about!  It's one thing if it's a required assignment but if you are writing simply because you want to , then write what you want to write about! 

So these are a few tidbits from an amateur writer on how to get the mind ready to flow.  I hope something I've said here will help you.  Ask or read about what other writers do as well.  We all do things differently and what works for some may not work for all ....though I can't imagine chocolate not working 😉

So what DO you eat??

I am often asked this question.  It's usually right after a brief explanation of what our family can not eat, due to severe allergic reactions...now that we don't eat the ingredients I've mentioned in previous posts ( The Truth About MSG  and Our Food Story), our reactions to these ingredients when accidentally ingested are usually quicker,  more obvious, and sometimes severe like major mood swings but are usually things like rashes, itchiness, hives, vomitting, anxiety, headaches and sleeplessness(though now we are much better at identifying what we can and can not have, accidental ingestion is very rare).

Well, my quick answer has always been....if God made it, no problem, we eat it.  If man messed with it.....nnnnot so much.  But recently, I've realized we were eating more things that man messed with than I realized or at least admitted.

We were still eating organic granola bars, pastas, pizza dough (homemade and organic pre-made brands), cakes, cookies, and more.  Let's face it.  God did not make pizza or pasta trees nor can you find any chocolate chip cookies growing in your garden.  These are not natural foods. So I guess my answer should have been, "Food products that do not have completely artificial ingredients added to them and a lot of minimally processed meals that are made from scratch with lots of vegetables included."  That may have summed it up a little bit closer to the truth.

But now I can say we do, about 90% of the time, eat only what God made for us to consume. The Lord knows what we need and that is what he's given to us.  I've read quite extensively in recent months to further understand how processed foods and foods most people 'think' are normal healthy foods and comparing them to how our ancestors ate and whether the 'nutrition' in these 'normal healthy foods' is really what conventional thought claims it to be or whether some of these 'normal healthy foods' are actually more problematic to our health than good.  I'm finding such foods, namely grains, legumes and (oh how I hate to admit it) dairy to be more problematic than beneficial.

Soooooo, much to my older son's dismay, the members of our household still living at home full time are now transitioning to even less of those foods that man has messed with.  In other words, we eat mostly vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs, and meat/seafood; the foods that God provides to us as readily available.  Things that don't need much in terms of processing to consume (other than someone to process the cow/deer/chicken, etc.  I'm NOT doing that).

We are actually experimenting with what is termed the Paleo and/or Primal Diet.

Now let me explain the 90% that I wrote above.

Life is hard.  We're not perfect.  And there are foods that, well, we are basically addicted to and going out to friends and families' homes that do NOT eat Paleo and Primal...well that would be hard.  It was hard enough on my extended family members when we were only avoiding artificial ingredients, let alone grains and legumes.  So we do, at least for now, allow ourselves an occasional meal with a SIDE (not main course anymore) of something with pasta or rice and occasionally I'll make a batch of brownies or cookies to put a smile on my son's face.  But now I have much smaller portions....one portion... and that's all. This way we are less likely to have a strong adverse reaction if we are eating somewhere that in order to be polite involves eating such foods.  We still will 100% avoid artifiical ingredients.  Eating that stuff would make us sick and that is just not worth it.

Now there are people who follow the paleo and primal diets that would say we can't call ourselves paleo or primal if we do that.  Oh well.  It is what it is.  This is what we are doing right now.  Some day I'd love for our family to do the Whole 30..... 30 days of essentially following the paleolithic diet a full 100% to see if we notice even more positive health changes than we have doing it our 90% way.  I like perusing over the Whole9 website.  I absolutely LOVED the It Starts With Food book written by the couple that are in charge of that program.  If you have time, I highly recommend reading the book and taking a look at the site.  Good information!  Information you won't see or hear at your doctor's office because, frankly, our dear family physicians and specialists are simply NOT trained in nutrition. There is simply no nutrition taught in medical school.  (My Dh is a physician ---  we have many friends that are physicians --- they are taught medicine - NOT nutrition) So it is up to us to research what is making us sick.  And the answer, my friends, is what we are putting into our bodies and exposing our bodies to in the environment.  The biggest factor, of course, is food.

My kids learned a long time ago what I think is the biggest health for all to learn, the difference between FOOD and food PRODUCTS.  The Standard American Diet is largely comprised of food products, not food.

So......   What do I eat???   I eat real food.

  • Grass-fed Meat & Wild-Caught Seafoods (of course we research to see what's considered safest in the seafoods)
  • Eggs from free-range chickens
  • Vegetables (legumes not included)
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • A small amount of dairy
  • dark chocolate with a bit of sea salt (A girl has to have her chocolate...lol)
  • And yes, occasionally, a small yummy that might contain a small amount of grain, sugar, or larger portion of dairy because I just haven't kicked the habit entirely and don't want to make things hard.

So there it is.  That is what I eat.  Any questions?  🙂

4

I know that name sounds really weird... but it didn't taste like a bowl of chocolate. It tasted like chili--- epic chili according to my teenage son. So I thought I'd share. The recipe was out of Well Fed, my favorite Paleo cookbook so far. I only have two, of course, other than the ones I downloaded onto my kindle which were free. But I rarely use my kindle. Really, anymore I just put the free stuff on it which I may or may not ever get around to looking at.

So here's the recipe:

2 Tblsp. Coconut oil
2 onions
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. oregeno
2 tblsp. chili powder
2 tblsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tblsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (14.5) oz. fire roasted tomatoes (I actually used 2 cans)
1 can (14.5) oz beef broth (I used homemade - not sure what beef broth that's not homemade would be considered paleo??)
1 cup water

Fry onions in oil till transluscent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, stir 30 seconds then add meat, crumbling and mixing to combine. Cook meat until no longer pink.

In seperate bowl, crush oregeno with palms to release flavor. Add chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine together and then add to pot, stirring well. Add tomato paste and stir till well combined.

Add tomatoes with juice, broth and water. Stir well. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours! Simmering allows the flavors to blend and release.

Next time I am definitely making at least a double if not triple batch so I can freeze it.

This recipe was taken from WELL FED by Melissa Joulwan. She has just come out with a WELL FED 2 which I am putting on my Christmas list!

Now, if only I could figure out how to put a link on here for her.... as the rest of the cookbook is just as devine and anyone who wants to try out Paleo recipes really should get it! 🙂