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I am/was behind in menu planning this month.  I am sitting here coming to the realization the month has already started and I haven't planned the menu!  I've enjoyed the last two months as I prepared the following month's menu at least a week before the month started.  It has really made life easier to plan in advance like that rather than waiting until the evening before I do my weekly grocery store trip to plan the menu and the list.  It takes a little longer to plan for the month but not as long as it used to do the weekly plan since I made up a bit of a draft to always follow.

First I print out a Monthly Menu Planner....  I had one saved to my computer but couldn't find the link.  Here's another that I like:

weekly menu planner pict 300x231 Meal Planning Resources

So now I take a look at the menu and fill in the dates....  Then I look at my regular planning calendar and mark off any days we might not be home for dinner due to previous plans or make note of days we will be out of town for dinner and may need to plan on food to take with us!  Then I mark of Wednesdays and Fridays.  These are days we follow the fasting rules of the Orthodox Church.  The rule permits fish without backbones on these days but does not allow any other animal meat.  We are a little more lenient in our home and allow any type of fish, but try to stick to the backbone rule on at least one of these days.  So Wednesday and Fridays are automatically seafood days and I try, if we have it on hand, to do wild caught salmon once a week.  I am out right now and need to get myself to our best source soon! 

Next is my list of our current favorite Paleo meals:

  • Bacon Spinach Casserole
  • Paleo Chili
  • Mushroom Meatloaf
  • Chicken With Mushroom Sauce
  • Spaghetti Squash with Homemade sauce

And a couple "ALMOST" Paleo Meals:

  • Turkey Reuben Salad
  • General Tso's  Chicken served over cauliflower rice

And, usually - because my family LOVES them and my husband and son volunteer every month to help our church make them...AND because we don't, at this time, want to be 100% Paleo.....  one NOT paleo meal...but used more as a side dish now beside a very large salad...

  • Perogies.   Yep---- wheat AND white potatoes in the same meal...I'm sure the paleo police will come after us for sure but so far we do fine with this ... and I personally think making them a side dish now instead of a main meal is just a nice guilty pleasure that is at still better than what we used to do!  🙂

So with the seafood meals, which I also have a list of convenient easy meal combinations pre-made, that automatically gives me 16 meals already planned!  Throw in about 6 Hot Plates (Stir Frys) that are super easy and Thursday Leftover Days  and that leaves me with only about 4 meals to plan!  These will be my experimental days to try new Paleo Recipes!

Recipe Bonus:

I decided to add this here as some of you may be wondering just what Turkey Reuben Salad is...  It may sound a bit strange... making a reuben into a salad rather than a sandwich but my husband suggested it and I figured if he was willing to give up the sandwiches, I should be supportive and attempt the salad.  Even my 15-year-old likes it 🙂

Turkey Reuben Salad

3/4  -  1 lb. organic deli turkey, thinly sliced

1 jar sauerkraut (raw sauerkraut is the healthiest choice)

1/4 - 1/2 red onion, sliced or diced

organic cherry tomatoes - 1 container

1/4 lb. swiss cheese - cubed or you may use sliced cheese and cut it into nice long strips

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Organic Baby Spinach - Extra Large Package...about 12 oz.  [or green of your choice]

I make this salad up "buffet style".  My husband and I like the spinach but my son prefers a nice romaine lettuce and opts to leave the onions off.   I also like to mix baby romaine or baby lettuces with mine.  Try it and let me know what you think!  Meanwhile, I need to fill out that menu planner!!

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?  🙂