Where To Start?
A good friend, a link, or maybe even talking with us has led you to this site. You are probably thinking, “Hey great, a lot of delicious recipes, but I need a plan of attack guys!” We hear you. There are many great sites out there with a lot of wonderful information (see More Resources section), but here are a few things that have worked for us and some fantastic ways to get that healthy ball rolling, so to speak. Instead of you having to reinvent the wheel, these tips and ideas will hopefully help you get a good jump on this. (Scroll to the bottom for a list of some great recipes to start with! Note all of these recipes have a “printable” version).
1. DON’T TALK ABOUT “DIET” – Take it from us, if you haven’t mentioned the words “paleo” or “primal” to your family (i.e. those you will be cooking for) then don’t. We don’t like to say “paleo DIET.” This is not a diet. Human beings are meant to eat this way and our bodies just haven’t adapted too well to grains, processed foods, and tons of sugar. If your family thinks what you are cooking is putting them on a “diet” or if they hear the words “healthy,” “paleo,” “primal,” or “caveman diet,” they may rebel from the get-go. Just cook up a few meals, serve, see how the family responds. If they don’t like your “new recipe” then try another (However, we do list below some recipes that we feel are good starters and most members of the family, yes even the kids, will enjoy them). If anyone questions the different foods, just say that you are feeding them foods that have many more nutrients to nourish their bodies, while some of the “other” foods they may be used to eating can actually make us sick and unhealthy. For the adults, let them do their own research. Take a look at our Amazon Store link where we suggest some great books. Don’t just take our word for it!
2. GET RID OF IT – If you have grains and other processed or unhealthy foods in your home you may feel it hard to part with them. After all, you are facing the true fact that you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and get started. Some people find it easier to just toss those “foods” out, while some don’t want it to go to “waste.” This is up to you. While we understand the part about watching your money being tossed out in the form of processed food, we do feel the sooner you rid your home, and most importantly your body, of these foods the sooner you will begin to feel a whole lot healthier.
3. PICKY SCHMICKY – Have a picky eater? Well, we have one too, but she gets to eat no differently than we do and she doesn’t buy the food. Most of the time children are picky not because of any fault of their own, but because of us as parents. We give in. We don’t want them to starve. They will not starve, trust us. With more and more children dealing with obesity, type 2 diabetes, allergies, etc. (this does not even scratch the surface), we truly need to get a handle on this. We have many recipes your picky child will enjoy as ours does. They may not enjoy it all at first, but they will find what they like. Work with them. Let them dish up their own plates. Encourage them to help in the kitchen and let them choose a few recipes. When they are involved, they are more likely to eat what they make. Have patience.
4. COOKING IS PRETTY EASY… REALLY – We get the fact that not everyone is a cook or even likes to cook that much. Yes, it is true; in order to eat better you either have to cook yourself or have someone do it for you (we are not talking about the fry cook at the fast food place or your favorite restaurant here either!). We were guests on Whole 9′s site here where we (along with some other chefs) offer up suggestions (some listed below) on spending less time in the kitchen and more time doing other things you enjoy. And if you do enjoy time in the kitchen, even better!
Pick out a few recipes on our site you think you may enjoy. Look in your refrigerator, see what you have on hand, then pick some recipes that include these ingredients and that way you are using up what you have and shopping is minimal. Plan a menu for the week around these recipes. Sunday is usually our day to plan and shop. You can also cook up more than one meal on Sunday and freeze some to save at a later date. This works great if you are limited in time for cooking during the week. Make extra so that you have some leftovers for your lunch the next day.
Everything – from shopping to cooking – gets done faster and better when well organized. We use a custom-made shopping check list sorted by the sections of the stores we shop at and inclusive of about 90% of the things we buy on a regular basis. A detailed list gets you into the store, looking for what you need, and cuts impulse buying. Print the list ahead of time and post it in the kitchen. When an ingredient is running low, check it on the list immediately. When putting together a weekly menu keep the list at hand and make sure to include any ingredients not currently “in stock.”
Before you start, have everything you need ready. Get the family involved too and the prep/cook time is very minimal. The recipe should be printed (even if it’s shorthand notes on a napkin) and placed within an easy glance of where you are working. The ingredients (including all spices and herbs) should be rounded up and roughly measured out. The pots, pans, knives and any other utensils should also be assembled and ready to go. Have the sink empty, the dishwasher put away, and the countertops clear. Keep the garbage can and compost buckets within an arm’s reach. Get all of your prep work done at one time – chopping the veggies or fruits first, and then the meat last.
5. WHAT DO I EAT FOR BREAKFAST? – We love this question. Who decided that pancakes, donuts, and waffles were good for us, let alone breakfast foods? Whatever you eat for lunch or dinner you can eat for breakfast. Of course there is always the ‘ol standby of bacon and eggs, which is fine with us. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast recipes. Check out the link on our site marked “Breakfast” for even more ideas.
- Bacon and Beef Frittata
- Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash
- Almond Pancakes (don’t over-use this one)
- Omelettes and Scrambles
- Turkey-Veggie Breakfast
6. WHAT DO I EAT FOR SNACK? – Ideally if you are getting a good hunk of protein at each meal and filling your plate with veggies and getting in some good fats then you really shouldn’t feel like you need a snack. Our friends at Whole 9 use a great example of this. If you feel like you are so hungry you could eat up some chicken and broccoli right now, then by all means have something good to eat, but if you don’t feel like eating that, then it is just a craving. We suggest steering clear of items such as Lara Bars and the like, unless in a pinch. We did a blog post about having food on the go which gives some great snack ideas that we list here:
- Any meat you have leftover
- Hardboiled eggs
- Deli Meat (Applegate or Boars Head are good brands)
- Tuna (we made this up before we left, but you can also get this in the pouches at the grocery store and just eat it out of the bag with a fork. Works out great and saves you from having to pack the can opener).
- Pretty much all the veggies and some fruit. Including, but not limited to, jicama, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, apples, bananas, pickles, peppers. Slice up the veggies and put in a container with water in ice to keep them cool and fresh.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Mixture of nuts that we made up ourselves of macadamia, cashews, walnuts, almonds.
- Homemade mayo is quick to make and can be a base for a great salad dressing or dipping sauce. Just add some balsamic vinegar and some “No-Salt” seasoning (we get this at Costco).
- Coconut butter/manna. Just a good bite of this and cravings will pass.
- Unsweetenend applesauce
- Yogurt – homemade. Fage’s “Total” brand (full-fat) is also great to add in some berries.
- Water can be flavored a bit with cucumber or lemon if you want a bit of a treat.
- Blackberry-Nut Clusters
- Kale Chips
7. CAN’T COOK WITHOUT IT – Some kitchen utensils we have not been able to live without include a food processor and a large Crockpot. A good set of All-Clad measuring cups and spoons, although a bit spendy, are sturdy enough to use as mini-saucepans to melt coconut oil and will last you forever. You will never have to buy another set. Well worth it. Nice knives are also a good investment, but not necessary at first.
For food, we suggest stocking up on some good spices. We go through a lot of ”No-Salt” Seasoning, Old Bay, and cinnamon, but use plenty of other spices too. Make sure to check the bulk section for your basic spices as buying them in that area is so much cheaper than the baking aisle. Balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and pastured butter are also musts – olive oil for great taste when added after cooking (it is unstable if heated), and coconut oil or butter as the workhorse oils for cooking. If you aren’t a fan of the “coconut taste” in everything you cook, we recently discovered the Tropical Traditions Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil that is void of coconut flavor but still full of all the good stuff. We keep this on hand as well as the regular “virgin” coconut oil. Finally, we always make sure to have a batch of homemade mayo made up also.
8. DON’T GET TOO OVERWHELMED – We talk a lot about organic and purchasing locally. Don’t get hung up on that. Start by just heading to your local grocery store. You can gradually work in as you learn more. Here is a link to a good article written by Robb Wolf about the cost of the “diet” and another written by Diane Sanfilippo here. Think about how much less you will be spending on meds and doctor visits. Save up all the money you had been using for that latte every day and invest it more wisely.
9. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO AT IT ALONE – Find a friend to help hold you accountable, preferably one who is also on board and you in turn can hold him/her accountable. Get outside or get into the gym. Get a partner to train with. Please remember, however, that you cannot outwork a crappy diet – so do not think for a minute that spending a few hours in the gym a week will negate any bad eating. It doesn’t work that way. We see it all the time. Set some fitness and eating goals. Log your progress. This helps to set trends and is a good way to see which foods agree and disagree with you, as this is definitely not a “one size fits all.”
10. TRY THESE RECIPES TO START – Delicious main dishes, sides, and desserts. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but they are great ones to get started. Most of these are our own “fall backs,” the recipes we go back to time and time again in our own kitchen.
- Sloppy Joes
- Lemon Chicken with Veggies
- Shepherds Pie
- Sausage and Kale Soup
- Teriyaki Stir Fry
- Salmon with Blueberry Sauce
- BLT Salad
- Chicken Taco Soup
- Onion Pepper Burgers
Sides, Salads, Dressings, and Soups
- Balsamic Italian Dressing
- BLT Salad with Homemade Mayo
- Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
- Roasted Eggplant with Peppers and Onions
- Coconut Creamed Greens
- Mango Salsa
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
- Green Beans with Hazelnuts
Desserts (in moderation please)
- Triple Berry Crumble
- Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Apple Crumble
- Coconut Ice Cream
- Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Karen’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yowza. I had a major run in with some doughnuts.
I was walking down a dark alley and I was mugged by a maple glazed, one with sprinkles and a lemon creme.
In all seriousness, I was all in my head and stressing myself out over the actions of a few select people. I wanted comfort food. Doughnuts are my go-to.
It didn’t matter that I was listening to Robb Wolf Paleo podcast. It wouldn’t have mattered if there was a grizzly bear at the front door of Fray’s. I was going IN.
I bought a dozen to “share’. 2 on the way to QM’s, left her with 3. Over the course of the day at work, I scared down two more and ate nothing solid. Evy was a great help in getting rid of more, for which I am ever grateful.
Fine sleeping that night, next day – POW! Big arse sugar hangover. I have cut back on sugar most assuredly, but I still have my weekly margarita, some bread on the weekends, whatever lights my fancy really, on the weekend.
This was the first time I ever had a sugar hangover. Huge headache that wouldn’t go away. A little dizzy, you know, like I tied a big one on. Right then and there I decided to do Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox. I had been stalking it on her website, as I have been listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast. (Find the link to the right). Obviously, this was the day to start. I had exactly 21 days until I start the Whole30 from the It Starts with Food. Sounds like kismet.
I am now on Day 10. The first few days were relatively easy as I didn’t even want to look at sugar. The only thing I really missed was my raw honey in my coffee. But I substituted Coconut Milk and Almond Milk and it is fine now that I’m on day 10. I haven’t done any of the supplements yet, mostly because I’ve been swamped and dinero is a little tight right now. We have been doing a lot of home improvement. I’m of the opinions that ottomans are more important right now. I know, duh.
But I like the detox. I have heard that when you get past 14 days everything feels a little lighter and better. I’m feeling fine, with the exception of a little weaker than normal. I tend to take a few more breaks than normal when CrossFitting or teaching yoga. But I’m hopeful that my body will soon flip the switch to fat burning instead of a sugar burn. You can read about that in It Starts with Food.
I’m hoping at the end of my 21 Days, and the end of August from my Whole 30 Challenge I will have learned MUCH better coping mechanisms.
Plan B, idea….
I purchased this about two weeks before the Thinner This Year Beta Test came up. I am already madly, truly, deeply in love with it. More my speed. I’m thinking an August First Challenge. 30 days. I REALLY have to do something soon….
You can click on the picture and it should take you right to it.
How do I start this one?
* Why wouldn’t you do it?
* How could you not do it?
* You need to do it!
I read Thinner This Year. Which is a great book. I was part of the Beta Test Group. Follow the directions in the book for six months, get to your goal weight. Pretty simple.
I couldn’t do it. Good sound nutritional advice. Almost Vegan. Which I get. But I couldn’t do it. Eat red meat once every two weeks? An egg yolk once a week? I thrive on protein. I’ve worked hard to ditch most grain/dairy/legumes (except for cheat meals) from my daily diet. I just don’t want to reintroduce grains and legumes to my diet. The TTY book recommended 50% of my diet be whole grains and legumes. I was a vegetarian for a few years and went back to eating meat because I felt so much better when I ate red meat.
So. Epic FAIL -EO. I want to be Pal-EO.
I want to lose 20 lbs. But this book just didn’t resonate with ME. I suggest reading it when it comes out. It’s good. It will change lives. But I don’t think every diet is for every person. I have no doubt I would have lost weight on the TTY program. For that I feel like big crybaby, loser. But I like the way I feel with this getting there Paleo diet that I strive for.
Next up on my reading list: It Starts with Food. It starts with Paleo for me. This book is written by the Whole 30 couple and I’m pretty excited to dig in.
I think I drank the Paleo Kool Aid.
I am on page 129 of Thinner This Year. “20% of your diet should be whole grains”. “Red meat, no more than once a week, or better yet, once every other week.” “Another 10% of your diet should be dairy”…
But if you are a man, you can have two glasses of wine a night and if you are a woman, one.
“No more than one hard boiled egg a week.”
I am continuing to read. Soldiering on.
Warm up stretches
4 Rounds of 20 each exercise
20 Dumbbell Row and Deadlift
20 Dumbbell Lunge with Hammer Curls
20 Dumbbell Squats with an Overhead Press
20 Dumbbell Lunges with Tri extensions
10 Crawlers with a Pushup in between rounds
30 minutes of Yoga Stretches, focusing on Twists.
Be careful what you do on Facebook.
A few years ago I read the book Younger Next Year (see the Right Stuff page above) and started recommending it to my clients. It takes the guesswork out of fitness. It is sprinkled with some magic fairy dust that makes you want to move your arse after you read it. Since reading the book, I pretty much move an hour a day. It inspires you to do it. Of course then I have to stalk the whole Younger Next Year establishment. I am “friends” on Facebook, recommend the Aspen retreats to customers, the whole kit and kaboodle.
I was very excited when about a year ago I got wind from one of Chris Crowley’s posts that there was going to be another book that specifically speaks on diet. YNY mostly deals with exercise and the science (palatable reading) behind it. So I was very excited about this.
Those of you who know me, you know that while I move a LOT, I still have 15-20lbs I would like to lose. I am happy with me because I know this body can cycle 200 miles in 2 days. I have put on 5lbs of muscle in the past six months thanks to CrossFit and I can generally do pretty much anything I want. It takes me where I want to go. That being said, I also know that every year I get older – If I follow the standard american diet – that between my hormones, cellular functions and other fun little tidbits, that I will be on track to gain 5lbs EVERY YEAR. That scares the beejeezus out of me.
For the past 8 months I have subscribed to a more “Primal” way of eating. I have been listening to Balanced Bites and Robb Wolf podcasts on my commute into the shoppe. I have read books and stalked websites. At the beginning of the year (2012) Suzanne and I did 30 days of CLEAN (see the Right Stuff page). Which really kicked things off for me. CLEAN is an excellent start and then I merged into the Primal way of eating. Easiest way to show you this is via this picture:
That pretty much sums it up. If it were me, I would put Vegetables at the top, since that really is the majority of your diet. But MEAT!!! gets your attention. Anyhoo…
Since the beginning of the year, I have radically cleaned up my diet. I feel like I am 70% of the way there. The other 30% of the time, I goof up because I didn’t prepare food. Stress sends me to Fray’s for doughnuts. We have a lot of dinners out socializing and after a big bike ride a girlfriend (KAT! – I’m blaming this one on you!) always requires that we have a margarita or two to celebrate. In short, I’m like everyone else and use food for solace and entertainment.
Since the beginning of the year, I started working out at CrossFit En Fuego near my home 3-4 times a week typically. I went though a yoga teacher training and I teach yoga 3 times a week. And I try to take at least one clsass a week from someone else. If Russell and I aren’t out of town on the weekend offiicating at a triathlon, typically we do a 40 -60 mile bike ride. If he wants to do more I usually bail, since my body is pretty tired after all that working out and standing around a massage table.
Which brings me to be careful what you do on Facebook….
Chris Crowley puts out a post that says,
But of course I am! Pick me! Pick me!
And then I got picked. Uh oh. The email that said, we picked you(!!!!), also says that it will be a 6 month test until December. That’s like a real commitment, peeps. The manuscript should be in my hot little hands next week. I figure with my schedule it will take me a week to read it. I usually fall asleep when trying to read past 7pm. I’m anxious because it isn’t a Primal/Paleo approach. But I think I may try to stay gluten free as much as possible.
Please note that I am writing this next to a fountain, over looking Canal Street in New Orleans. Last night we had dinner at Commander’s Palace. Scrumptious salad, I had a filet with smashed potatoes followed by the most glorious (cue the angels singing on high) bread pudding with a whiskey sauce. Paleo – salad, Primal – filet/potatoes, bread pudding -Heaven. Oh well. When in Rome...
So follow me on my journey. I will outline the basics and give you my honest feedback on the book after I read it. I frequently chat with my contemporaries about diet, as it is hard to find that end all/be all. I like this about the Vegan’s, I like this about The Zone, I like this about The Sonoma Diet, etc. So I’m intrigued to see what Mr. Crowley comes up with.
It’s going to be weird, hard and probably really funny from your seat. I’m not really good at doing a diet more than 4 days in a row. The weekend usually kills me, but hang on, and feel free to join me. There’s strength in numbers. Russell will be doing it too, but don’t tell him just yet. It’s a surprise! 🙂
How Bone Broths Support Your Adrenals, Bones and Teeth
Like supports like
Modern nutritional research continues to prove what traditional cultures learned through observation over time, when we eat a specific part of an animal, it nourishes that same part of our body.
One example of this like supports like principle can be found in Dr. Catherine Shanahanʼs book, Deep Nutrition. Dr. Shanahan explains that the highest source of available vitamin A known to man isnʼt in a carrot or broccoli, but found in the tissue in the back of the eyeball. As vitamin A is known to specifically support healthy eyesight (among many other crucial health supporting roles), it goes without saying that if we consume what Dr. Shanahan calls “those nasty bits,” we will receive the nutritional bounty contained within to support our expression of optimal health. Broths and stocks provide a very easy way to incorporate the health giving benefits of all those culturally unappealing “nasty bits” into our regular diet.
Wouldnʼt it be great if there was a type of intelligence that made it where we could eat a nutrient and have it go to a specific part of the body that needed it most? Well, there is such intelligence in nutrient-dense foods such as bone broths. This concept of an intelligence of a specific nutrient we consume to have an affinity to the same tissues within our own bodies is amazingly simple to our over-intellectualizing culture. Modern science still hasnʼt figured out how this intelligence works but they know that certain compounds have an affinity for certain tissues.
Bone Broths & Traditional Chinese Medicine
From within the traditional Chinese paradigm, bone broth nourishes our kidneys, supports our vital essence (chi), and builds blood. Who wouldnʼt benefit from another bowl of soup?
Bone tissue relates to the kidneys according to Chinese medical theory. So, given the theory of like supports like, consuming bone tissue will support the kidneys and therefore the bones (including the teeth).
The Chinese medical perspective includes the adrenals as part of the system they call the kidneys. So, bone broth directly supports adrenal function. It is recognized that the adrenals perform so many hormonal functions vital to our immune health. Adrenal fatigue is another one of those ʻelephants in the living roomʼ that so many of us in the real food movement are talking about yet remains unheard of in mainstream media.
Bone Broths and Adrenal Support
Bone broths provide the adrenal glands with the much needed nutritional support to help make the shift from survive to thrive. Dr. Shanahan even suggests that the nutritional matrix in bone broths may actually help patch the holes in the kidney tissue that cause the kidneys to function less optimally.
Massive bone support
Bone stock is rich with minerals. Isnʼt it interesting that within bone broth are the exact minerals, in the proper proportions, that our teeth are also made of? 65% of the mineral mass of bone is made up of calcium and phosphorus – the two main minerals that compose our teeth. When making bone broths we stew the bones for several hours, even days, the stock itself becomes very rich with minerals.
Itʼs interesting to note that the bones after making stock are so soft you can push your thumb nail into them. That tells you that the minerals that were in the bone are now in the bone broth.
How does this translate into stronger, healthier teeth that resist decay and even can heal from tooth decay? Well, the mechanism the body utilizes to remineralize the tooth enamel is through the saliva. Provided that the diet has sufficient minerals, the saliva will have the necessary minerals to interact with the tooth enamel to remineralize the teeth. Bone broth provides the necessary minerals in the proper, combinations, to make them available for use throughout the body. (See video Mouth Probiotics to learn more about the role saliva plays in creating greater oral health).
The reason the concept of tooth remineralization is not present in the culture at large is due to the fact that our diets, for the most part, are miserably deficient in the minerals necessary to optimize health.
Making bone stocks is an easy way to massively raise the minerals in oneʼs diet. But the benefits of bone broth go well beyond mineral content.
Fats + Minerals = Bio-available Minerals
The problem with mineral supplements is that we arenʼt what we eat. A more accurate statement is we are what we absorb from what we eat. Mineral uptake is the issue here. The good news is the fats in bone broths help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths. So, rather than searching through the vitamin section of your health food store, make friends with the butchers at the meat department and establish your supply for quality bones!
What is bone marrow anyway?
Bone broth also contains the bone marrow. Bone marrow is where the body manufacturers both red and white blood cells. Thus, applying the same principle of like supports like, enjoying regular bone broths will nourish our bodyʼs ability to create healthy blood within our own system.
In the Chinese paradigm, bone marrow is considered the deepest tissue of the body and contains the essence of the being. Itʼs an interesting correlation to consider that modern science has shown that within bone marrow are high concentrations of stem cells, the very organizing influences and genetic material, for the being. It is these essential nutrients that help our bodies continue to build healthy, vital constitutions and repair cellular damage.
The youth serum in bone broths.
There are a series of proteins called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs for short) that are highly concentrated in joint tissues. These GAGs are part of the tissues known as collagen. Over the past several years some GAGs, namely glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, have come into popularity for their documented support of joint and skin tissues. Once consumed, these nutrients go to the connective tissues of joints and other connective tissues of the body where they are needed. While the synthesized compounds like glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride may be effective in supporting greater connective tissue health, we prefer and advocate the whole food version. After all, what beneficial compounds are still to be discovered contained within bone broth (that science hasnʼt performed clinical trials on)? So, rather than purchase the supplement, go for the bones!
How do glycosaminoglycans relate to increased oral health?
First, the connective tissue restoring capacity of GAGs helps to repair compromised gum tissue that has been damaged and stressed by the ʻbad bugsʼ that cause gum disease. Also, within the process of the breakdown of health that we know as gum disease, one of the things that happens is the bad bugs weaken and damage the ligament (connective tissue) that holds each tooth to the jaw bones, thus resulting in loose teeth and adult tooth loss.
Dr. Shanahan states,
This means that glucosamine-rich broth is a kind of youth serum, capable of rejuvenating your body, no matter what your age. After decades of skepticism, orthopedists and rheumatologists are now embracing its use in people with arthritis, recommending it to ʻovercome or possibly reverse some of the degradation that occurs with injuries or disease. (Deep Nutrition)
When you combine the facts that bone broths make any soup way more delicious, provide the much needed support for our adrenals, offer such a rich source for much needed minerals, nourish our bodyʼs ability to build healthier blood, along with care for all the connective tissues throughout our bodies, you can see why we consider bone broths to be such a foundational dietary pillar for anyone looking to navigate to greater oral health as well as create optimal system wide immunological health.