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Gelatin: Not for Post-Workout Recovery

Gelatin: Not for Post-Workout Recovery | stupideasypaleo.com

Gelatin is not a good protein choice for post-workout recovery.

Now, let me note, gelatin is great for some things (click here to read), but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately: bloggers recommending gelatin as a source of post-workout protein. This is not only misguided, it’s just straight up wrong. Yes, gelatin has amino acids, but when you look closely, there are some reasons it can’t substitute as a proper protein source for post-workout recovery.

What’s the Issue?

Gelatin is a type of protein obtained from animal connective tissue and is rich in collagen. You know how when you cook a chicken and refrigerate it in the pan and there are jiggly meat juices at the bottom? That’s because of gelatin.

It’s got lots of two amino acids—protein building blocks—called proline and glycine. Keep those two names in mind for a moment. These amino acids are considered non-essential which means our bodies can manufacture their own supply. Adding gelatin to your diet—be it through bone broth or gelatin supplements—can certainly have benefit to the digestive system and to your joints (click here to read more), but it’s relatively useless at building muscle tissue because it’s so low in branched chain amino acids.

And that is a problem.

Building Muscle is the Name of the Game

When you train, you incur microscopic damage to muscle tissue, and the goal of protein intake in your post-workout nutrition (and frankly, the rest of your diet) is to provide substrate to begin the rebuilding it. If you want to be fancy, this process is called muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

Here’s the rub: The high proline and glycine content found in gelatin are not helpful for MPS.

Rather, a special subcategory of amino acids called branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the ones most important to MPS. Leucine, valine and isoleucine are the three BCAAs—so termed because of their non-linear structure, and they’re found in most abundance in animal protein sources. One other key: The BCAAs are essential which means they can’t be directly manufactured by the body, unlike proline and glycine.

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Putting It All Together

To maximize muscle repair and growth—important processes for all athletes regardless of sport—adequate intake of nutrient-dense dietary protein from animal sources provides the best bank of the amino acids needed for these mechanisms.

Yes, you can get protein from plants but it’s far less dense and you’d have to eat far more food volume to get enough. Not to mention, plant sources of protein lack B vitamins and other critical nutrients that are readily available in animal sources.

Gelatin, while it is rich in amino acids, does not contain the ones needed to build and repair muscle, and athletes need to make wise choices in the post-workout window; eating gelatin instead of meat, eggs, seafood or even a supplement such as whey protein is not one of them.

Get my free PDF of source of dense protein sources for athletes.

To read more about the importance of protein for athletic performance and how much to eat, check out my ebook, The Paleo Athlete.

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Gelatin: Not for Post-Workout Recovery | stupideasypaleo.com

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Paleo Confused? 3 Steps to Help You Get Clear

Paleo Confused? 3 Steps to Help You Get Clear | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo confused? Not sure how to navigate this ever-expanding world of grain- and dairy-free eating? I don’t blame you. This post will give you 3 easy-to-follow steps to get clear about what really matters.

Back in 2010 when I first “went Paleo”, I was wide-eyed and intent on following all the rules—admittedly without knowing the rationale behind them. There were as many books about Paleo as you could count on one hand (not kidding) and a few bloggers starting to put their spin on things. And then…*BOOM*.

Paleo explosion.

Hundreds of blogs, dozens of books, podcasts and magazines and companies with products and services are here to help you in your Paleo journey. Such a fantastic change from even 4 years ago. But have you noticed that when you go to a restaurant with an enormous menu, choosing your order is far more difficult than when the menu is just one page long? You start to go back and forth, back and forth, mulling over your choices until you realize you get more confused about what you want. That’s sort of what Paleo’s like now.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I hear from readers all the time, wondering why Paleo recommendations all over the board are inconsistent, or worse, contradictory. In other words, they’re Paleo confused. Here’s a 3-step plan for staying clear:

Step #1 for the Paleo confused: Be clear about your current state of health and goals.

If you want to know how to steer the boat, you’ve got to have a map. Put another way, if you’re going to look for the resources to best fit your lifestyle, needs and goals you have to be clear about them, ideally before you get started. Getting a full workup from your medical doctor and any relevant blood tests is the way to really have a baseline of understanding for what you’re up against if you’re trying to improve your health.

Once you have a clearer picture, start following sites and collecting resources that cater to your goals. Trying to lose a significant amount of fat? Torturing yourself by following all the gluten-free baking blogs is not going to help. Dealing with an autoimmune condition? Start seeking out resources that deal with that (like this and this). Brand new and want to do a 30-day system reset? Check this out.

Step #2 for the Paleo confused: Accept that there is no one “right way.”

Simultaneous to step 1, do some basic research about what Paleo really means. It’s hard to get a cohesive picture from the bits and bobs on blogs and through social media. If you’re into minimal investment and you want a free intro, consider signing up for something like my Quickstart mini-course. It’ll give you a little taste of what Paleo is without having to pony up for the full meal deal. Want something more extensive? I can’t recommend these two books enough: It Starts with Food and Eat the Yolks. They’re both comprehensive guides to why real food rocks and how to get started on your own journey to badassery, er, wellness.

On that note, you’re likely to encounter what seem to be completely different viewpoints along the way. Some folks are so Paleo-strict, they won’t eat salt, fruit, ghee or even vinegar. Yeah, no duh…cavemen didn’t have vinegar…let’s not pretend we are running a historical reenactment of 10,000 years ago. Others are so lax that it’s all crap food in sheep’s clothing, dressed up to look healthy. I fall somewhere in the middle. I salt my food and use vinegar and ghee because they make food taste good, but I’m not kidding myself into thinking that a preponderance of sweets is a good choice.

So you see, there’s never going to be a universally agreed upon definition for which foods are or are not Paleo. You’ll hear people arguing about green beans and rice wine vinegar and other foods to the point you’ll want to get your nuclear bunker ready. Just choose what’s best for you (given your findings in step 1) and you’ll be okay.

Step #3 for the Paleo confused: Choose a trusted circle.

A surefire way to muddy the waters is to try to follow every single Paleo blog and to try adopting everyone’s philosophy (see step 2). Again, there are some pretty large disagreements about food between influential folks in Paleo-land so listening to everyone only contributes to the confusion.

What to do?

Based on your current health status and goals or other priorities—such as having limited time to cook—choose a trusted circle of three to five bloggers or experts you can follow. More’s generally not better, and I’m not saying I have to be one of them. Keep an eye out for new folks that come along, but have your old standbys that you know won’t let you down. Be wary of anonymously run sites that don’t have a clear face behind them; often these faceless sites are in the business of sales and ads, not caring about your health.

Avoid resources chock full of sensationalized articles and huge promises. “Gluten is death!” “Never eat a grain of salt again!” “Lose 5 pounds in 7 days!” Gimmicks rarely produce lasting results. Look for folks who produce quality, balanced resources, who make you think and who help make you better.

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4 Steps to Find More Time for Your Health

4 Steps to Find More Time for Your Health | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: This is the first in a three-part series about your time and your health brought to you by my guest blogger Justin of Limitless365. Justin brings his expertise as a one-on-one health coach to you here, and his philosophy on life, training and nutrition really jive with mine. Make sure to check out his site after you’re done reading the article! Take it away, Justin!

What If You Don’t Have As Much Time at You Want to for Your Health? 

Meetings, phone calls, emails and projects never seem to end.

And, when you consider how many people, obligations and responsibilities are competing for your time, it feels damn near impossible to make time to improve or even just maintain your health. That’s why “making time for your health” can feel overwhelming…especially if you don’t know where to start or feel like you “don’t have the time.”

The good news is that you do have the time. In fact, everyone does. We all operate with the same 24 hours in a day. It’s just that a few of us are better at managing those 24 hours.

Here’s how to CREATE more time for your health.

Step 1: Eliminate or Reduce?

Perhaps, the easiest way to make time for your health is by simply eliminating non-priorities.

You can instantly make time for your health by eliminating or reducing non-priorities, especially those that provide little benefit. For some people, it might be reducing or eliminating time spent gaming, surfing the net or watching television. For you, it might be something totally different.

To find out the best candidates for elimination or reduction, keep a time log for a day or two this week. Track how you spend every 30 minutes of your time. You’ll be shocked at how many 30-minute chunks of time are squandered each day. And, you’ll love seeing how easy it is to make or take an additional 30 to 60 minutes each day for your health.

Step 2: Recruit Assistance 

After eliminating “time-wasters,” look at the tasks, responsibilities and obligations that fill your day.

Next, sort your activities into:

  1. Things I must do myself.
  2. Things someone else can do.

What are the items (tasks, etc.) that absolutely have to be done by you? For example, your health is all yours. You can’t delegate or outsource it.

Now, what items can you get help with? Too many of us suffer from the “lone ranger” mentality that has us trying to do everything on our own.

Housecleaning, errands or other tasks can be delegated. In fact, there are probably several items on your plate that can be handed to someone else. You can enlist the help of family, friends or professionals when it comes to handling those non-health priorities, tasks, or responsibilities.

So, get rid of the “do it myself” mindset. Instead, recruit the help of others. This will free up time so you can immerse yourself, more fully and consistently, in taking care of your health. 

  • How can your kids pitch in a little more?
  • Significant other?
  • Co-workers?
  • Family?
  • Friends?

Step 3: Prioritize Your Schedule for Health

Now that you’ve eliminated, reduced and delegated as many responsibilities as possible, it’s time for you to prioritize your schedule for health.

If you agree that health is a priority, then you’ll need to schedule it in. Some considerations are:

  • What time each day is best for exercising?
  • When will you relax or sleep each day?
  • Which day(s) each week will you do your grocery shopping?
  • When is it best to prep your meals?

And remember, when scheduling in health activities, they are a priority. At first, your health activities might not fit comfortably into your current schedule. However, if you’ve taken the time to eliminate, reduce and delegate, then you should have a few time slots available on your calendar for your health. Nevertheless, you still might have to move some things around.

For example, it might be “best” to schedule your fitness activity into the first part of your day, or first thing in the morning.

This might mean that you have to:

  • Go to sleep at an earlier time.
  • Wake up a little earlier.
  • Reschedule any other activity that currently occupies your first waking hour.

Remember, priorities come first…not after other tasks.

Step 4: Put Your Health on Autopilot

Having to recall the steps necessary to complete an activity—before taking action—can be quite agonizing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s preparing a presentation or taking care of your health. In fact, the repetitive daily process of having to think or decide what to eat, how long to work out, and when to go to bed can be a royal pain in the ass.

Most successful and healthy people set routines.

Routines reduce the amount of “thinking” or decisions necessary to complete a task. It frees up your brainpower for other things. Routines allow you to place activities on autopilot.

For example, the most successful athletes follow set routines each day and before events or games. And because they’ve completed their routine numerous times, they don’t have to think about it. It’s automatic. It’s on autopilot.

Setting a morning routine is a powerful way to make time for health.

To set your morning routine, make a list of the key activities you do (or need to do) every morning.

Here’s a sample routine list:

  1. Wake up. (6:00 a.m.)
  2. Brush teeth and put on fitness gear. (6:10 a.m.)
  3. Walk. (6:15 – 7:00 a.m.)
  4. Enjoy a healthy breakfast. (7:15 a.m.)
  5. Shower, get dressed. (7:30 a.m.)
  6. Review list of today’s priorities. (7:45 a.m.)
  7. Begin the day. (8:00 a.m.)

Your routine will likely involve other items, in quite a different order. Instead of a walk, you might do yoga, run, or go to the gym.  Or, you might decide to awake earlier…if you have children.

That’s okay. In fact, you might need to tweak the list a little or a lot over the first week of your morning routine. The important thing is that your routine allows you to begin your day in the healthiest way, fitness and nutrition wise. So, be sure to include whatever health activities necessary.

  • Create your morning routine on a piece of paper.
  • Place it beside your bed.
  • And, for the first week or two, review it when you awake.

After doing this for one to two weeks, you’ll notice your morning routine runs on autopilot. It will be easy for you.

You’ll appreciate that it requires no thought, but delivers such great benefits. You’ll feel great. You’ll start your day by having given your body a vital dose of physical activity and healthy nutrition.

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Preserved Meyer Lemons

Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com

I’ll be honest…when I was photographing these Preserved Meyer Lemons, I just couldn’t help but feel happy! The season for Meyer lemons is here, and what better way to celebrate this delicious seasonal produce than to make preserved Meyer lemons.

What’s a Meyer Lemon?

It’s a variety of lemon that’s a bit more mild and less acidic than its famous yellow counterpart. The scent is almost a bit pine-y, and they taste a bit sweeter than regular lemons. Many people actually describe them as a hybrid between an orange and a lemon, and you’ll find them in season between December and April, so it’s best to pick them up when you see them in the market.

This method of preserving is really quite simple: Combine sea salt and the juice of the lemons (along with the entire lemon flesh), let it sit at room temperature for a couple of weeks while it all ferments and then refrigerate for a condiment that can be use in myriad ways.

There are several ways to cut the lemons, depending on which recipe you look at but I like this one because the pieces are small, and it’s easy to grab just one if you need a small amount.

Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com

How Can You Use Preserved Meyer Lemons?

Preserved lemons feature predominantly in North African cuisine, their rinds chopped up and added to dishes to add a punch of flavor. Once the Meyer lemons are preserved, you remove a piece from the jar, rinse the extra salt away and slice or chop the rind. You can use the flesh, too or just toss it. Add them to sauteed greens or cauliflower rice, toss into fresh salads, make a lemon butter sauce or throw into a crock pot chicken dish. Any way you can think of using lemons to add brightness to a recipe, you can substitute preserved Meyer lemons instead.

Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for Preserved Meyer Lemons:

Makes 1 quart (32 ounces).

Directions for Preserved Meyer Lemons:

  1. Wash the lemons and cut them into quarters.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 6 quarters into the jar and pack the slices somewhat tightly into the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sea salt.  Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com
  3. Repeat with layers of lemons and salt until you reach the top of the jar. If the liquid doesn’t cover the lemons, squeeze a bit more juice into the jar. Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com
  4. Put the cap on and invert the jar a couple times to distribute the salt.
  5. Put the jar in a dark place like a cupboard or pantry and let the lemons ferment for 2–3 weeks. Every few days, invert the jar a couple times and open the lid to release any pressure.
  6. After 2–3 weeks, refrigerate the preserved Meyer lemons for up to a year.

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Preserved Meyer Lemons | stupideasypaleo.com

Have you ever tried Meyer lemons? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Paleo On A Budget: Myths, Truths and Practical Advice

 

Real Food On A Budget | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo On A Budget…it’s possible!

There was a day in the not-so-distant past when it was nearly impossible to find grass-fed meat at supermarket and the selection of organic produce was quite small. My, how things have changed, but with the increased access to higher-quality food (a good thing) has come a lot of confusion (NOT a good thing). I’ve even heard people say Paleo is only for the “elite” which really perplexes me because this is the way our great-grandparents ate—and most of them weren’t high-falutin’ folk who only shopped at Whole Foods and dined on the finest grass-fed steaks.

We’ll start by busting a few myths. Then, I’ll describe three general Paleo budget levels. Finally, we’ll end up with 15 practical tips to stretch your dollar.

Myth Busting Time!

Paleo on a Budget Myth #1: You can only eat the best [insert food here] when you eat Paleo.

False. First of all, there are no Ten Commandments of Paleo. Yes, there’s a basic template (no grains, legumes, dairy, artificial sugar, etc.), but it’s there to help you get started. There are no Paleo police to show up at your door and confiscate all your conventionally grown bananas or non-cage free eggs. Don’t use this myth as the reason why you reach for Doritos instead of a non-organic apple.

Yes, buying foods that are grown in a more sustainable, conscientious and ethical way is a great thing to shoot for if you can afford it, but don’t throw the grass-fed steak out with the bathwater. More on that later.

Paleo on a Budget Myth #2: Meat is too expensive compared with grains.

While this might be true in terms of actual dollars, it couldn’t be more false from nutrition standpoint. Gram for gram, meat and produce are far more nutrient-dense than grains or legumes. If you’re interested in side-by-side comparisons, I’ll indulge you:

Beef Nutrition | stupideasypaleo.com
Wheat Nutrition | stupideasypaleo.com

A five-pound bag of wheat flour may be cheaper, but it’s not as nutritious as typical Paleo foods.

Paleo on a Budget Myth #3: Even if I eat better food, I’ll still end up with health problems in the future.

Well, nobody can purport to know exactly how your future health will play out, but there is mounting evidence for the idea the role of diet in age-related diseases and some cancers (see this study and this study). These epigenetic studies indicate that it’s possible to change the expression of our genes with environmental factors like food. (This concept may be best summed up by the saying, “Genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger.)

Eat better now, enjoy fewer age-related diseases in the future? Seems completely possible.

Paleo Budget Levels*

The Bare-Bones Minimalist

Times may be very tough and the dollars you have available for food are truly stretched thin. You can only focus on the barest of Paleo standards, and that’s totally okay! Your priority list should include eating meat and eggs, veggies, fruits and healthy fats. Focusing your dollars here—and away from processed foods and nutrient-poor foods—is far more beneficial than eating donuts and soda. Don’t stress about grass-fed and pasture-raised meats; instead, buy leaner cuts, trim the fat before cooking and drain the fat after cooking. You may do well with making some expensive pre-made foods from scratch, such as probiotic-rich sauerkraut and even homemade ghee.

Bare-Bones Minimalists shouldn’t stress if their Paleo friends tell them they’re doing it wrong because they don’t buy the highest-quality [insert food here].

The Comfortable Consumer

You have a modest food budget though it’s certainly not unlimited. You may be able to make some investments in certain areas of your shopping such as grass-fed meat for fatty cuts, free-range eggs or some organic produce (the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List can help you make choices). Some popular (though not really cheap) ingredients such as coconut aminos, nut flours or commercially prepared fermented foods may make their way into your cart. Shopping at a farmer’s market in your area is a real possibility. You may be able to capitalize on your dollar by doing things like buying coconut oil in large containers or participating in a cow share.

Comfortable Consumers may have the means to get a bit more invested in the “fancier” side of real food, and they spend some of their extra food dollars on higher-quality purchases.

The Gourmet Guru

You’ve reached budgetary nirvana! You’re able to purchase the best quality for all meats, produce and healthy fats. Paleo speciality foods and baking ingredients—often pricey additions to the average cart—may be on your list. Perhaps you’re a member of your local CSA or you’re on a first name basis with the local butcher. It’s likely you’re well-versed in the definitions and advantages of pastured, grass-fed, free-range, wild-caught foods and more. Dining out is probably more common for you.

Gourmet Gurus are likely to be pointed out by the media as examples of why Paleo is “elite” (when in fact they don’t make up a majority of Paleo eaters).

*Please keep in mind these are very wide generalizations. Which one is right? All of them.

15 Tips For Eating Paleo On A Budget

  • Buy seasonal produce.
  • Shop at a farmer’s market.
  • Learn how to make homemade goods, such as fermented veggies, kombucha, almond milk and ghee.
  • Grow your own produce, even if it’s fresh herbs on the windowsill of your apartment.
  • Look for sales—even stores such as Whole Foods put meat on sale from time to time.
  • For meats, if you can only afford grain-fed, buy lean cuts and trim the fat before cooking.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to prevent foods from losing freshness or getting freezer burned.
  • Limit Paleo baking or speciality ingredients. Nobody *needs* coconut aminos to survive.
  • Buy in bulk at stores such as Costco. I’ve even spotted big tubs of coconut oil there.
  • Limit how much you go out to eat.
  • Buy from the bulk bins at the health food market.
  • Purchase spices in bulk and make your own blends. It’s cheaper that way.
  • Join your local CSA—community supported agriculture—group.
  • Join a cow- or pig-share. You chip in to buy a large quantity of meat, and the price is often cheaper per pound than the grocery store. You’ll need a large amount of freezer space.
  • If you absolutely cannot get by without staple foods, steer clear of gluten and dairy but perhaps add in less problematic foods such as white rice or white potato. I don’t recommend this from an optimal-nutrition standpoint, but if you’re struggling financially, it’s an option.

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Why I’ll Never Own a Microwave Again

Why I'll Never Own a Microwave Again | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s true…I’ll never own a microwave again.

Recently, I spent four months living abroad, and the flat I was sharing didn’t have a microwave. (The horror!) Combine that with a teeny-tiny fridge and an oven the size of an Easy Bake, and I was beginning to feel pretty out of sorts since microwaves are standard issue in American kitchens.

At first, it was weird. Heat up leftovers…in a pan?! Melt coconut oil or ghee…on the stovetop? What if I didn’t have an extra 85 seconds to wait for my food to get warm?! As someone who grew up in the 1980s, microwaves have just been a part of daily life. But faced without one for four months, I had one choice: adapt or never heat up anything cold again. (Of course, I chose the former).

So why will I never own a microwave again? I didn’t need it, and now I don’t miss it.

Going without one simplifies my kitchen space and my life. I’m sort of on a mission to reduce my dependence on gadgetry and de-clutter ever since I read The Clutter Trap by Thank Your Body. (Just don’t take my computer, okay?) You’d think that as a food blogger, I have all the latest and greatest kitchen goodies, but the truth is that I’ve minimized what I use down to a skeleton crew of only the things I use on a regular basis. I’m going without a microwave as one way to live more simply.

How am I managing?

  • To heat up large portions, I use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. The bonus is that I can get a nice browned or caramelized outside on certain foods that a microwave could never do. (Concerned about food sticking to stainless steel? Check out this tutorial on seasoning it just like cast iron.)
  • To melt small amounts of coconut oil or other solid fats, I use a tiny sauce pot like this one.
  • To safely defrost meats, I put them in the refrigerator the night before I want to use them or run them under water. For frozen veggies or stock, I thaw it in the fridge.

That’s it! I haven’t found anything I was unable to do, and I’m loving the extra room on my countertop. Of course, if you’re somewhere like work or the gym, and there’s not a stovetop in sight, a microwave may be necessary unless you want to eat salads every day.

What about radiation? Isn’t that a good enough reason to skip the microwave?

When it comes to radiation exposure from microwaves—a type of electromagnetic radiation that causes the water molecules in food to vibrate, thus creating heat—it’s unknown whether the small amount these ovens give off is truly harmful or not. The FDA’s created a standard for microwave radiation as such:

“A Federal standard limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. This limit is far below the level known to harm people. Microwave energy also decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of radiation. A measurement made 20 inches from an oven would be approximately one one-hundredth of the value measured at 2 inches.”

That problem is that much is still not understood about how very low levels of microwave radiation exposure could be harmful over time. If you don’t trust the FDA and you don’t want to take the chance, simplify like me and go without.

When it comes to the nutrients in food, it’s been demonstrated that microwaving food results in insignificant differences in nutrient value compared with other cooking methods. In fact, it may actually help retain more nutrients than boiling or high-temperature / long-duration methods.

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6 Reasons Why Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You

6 Reasons Why Clean-Eating Isn't Working For You | stupideasypaleo.com

6 Reasons Why Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You

Clean-eating not working for you? As more folks commit to eating better—whether you call it eating clean, Paleo, real food, healthier or whatnot—it’s really common to hear, “I did Paleo but it didn’t work for me.” Here are the top 6 reasons why clean-eating isn’t working for you.

Reason #1 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re trying to shove your old habits into your new plan.

It’s super common to see folks apply the foods of their clean-eating plan to their old way of eating. If junk food, fast food and desserts were demons for you, trying to Paleo-ify them in your quest for healthier eating is likely to set you up for failure. That’s not to say you can’t have a treat now and then, but if you’re main objective is to figure out how much you can “get away with” on your new clean-eating plan, don’t expect to be very successful.

Reason #2 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re counting calories.

It’s NOT a bad idea to gauge how much you’re eating and check in with yourself, but if you’re coming from a caloric restriction mentality, you need to give your body a chance to start sending you the proper hormonal signals of satiation / satiety and hunger again. So many folks want to make Paleo or clean-eating into a numbers game which can perpetuate unhealthy relationships with food. Paleo isn’t an “eat as much as you want of whatever you want” plan, but you’re fooling yourself if you’re going to like or thrive by eating 1200 calories a day. For a general guideline of how much to eat, check out this meal template from Whole30.

Reason #3 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re fat-phobic.

While similar to #2, this is it’s own beast. Paleo and clean-eating are not meant to be low fat. Can we please just stop this insanity?! You physiologically need fat—as a fuel when you’re at rest, to maintain your cell membranes, to serve as hormonal precursors, to keep you feeling satiated and so much more. I used to do Weight Watchers, and I was hyperaware of how many grams of fat I ate, trying to limit it at all times. I was also hungry ALL THE TIME. Part of that was overall caloric restriction and part of it was eating 30 grams of fat per day.

Reason #4 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You did it for, like, a week.

When you’re switching from a typical Western diet rammed with sugar, processed carbs and food with low nutritional value, it’s common to experience what’s lovingly called Carb Flu. Your body needs time to switch over to burning fat when you’re at rest and it’s a process. It won’t happen overnight. If you want stable energy, improved mood and fat loss, you need to stick with it for at least a month, possibly longer.

Reason #5 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re using a one-size-fits-all template.

Yes, when you start out, you’ll probably need a template or outline to help you grasp what to eat—or not—but failing to consider your own needs in the long-term is a recipe for disaster.

Examples:

  • If you’re really active and athletic with good body composition, eating carbs is not only good but necessary.
  • If you’re dealing with an autoimmune condition, avoiding nightshades  like potatoes and eggs is advised.
  • If you’re trying to get control over your blood sugar regulation, it’s wise to avoid “Paleo” or “clean” sources of sugar.

Know thyself.

Reason #6 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re treating it as a quick fix.

“Slim down for summer!”

“Lose 5 pounds in 7 days!”

“Drop weight for that special event!”

Sound familiar? The marketers of radical diets are slimy enough, but you need to have enough savvy to realize their messages are utter nonsense. If you want lasting, long-term health, doing clean-eating as a quick fix will leave you sorely disappointed because the changes come a bit slower. See #4. Keep your expectations realistic.

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6 Reasons Why Clean-Eating Isn't Working For You | stupideasypaleo.com

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Do any of these sound familiar? What would you add?

Paleo Zucchini Fritters

Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com

These Paleo Zucchini Fritters are one of my most favorite veggie side dishes I’ve cooked up lately. The recipe’s one I adapted from Smitten Kitchen, a really cool—though not necessarily Paleo_blog. If you have a food processor with a shredding blade, this recipe becomes even faster to make but have no fear: I broke out my trusty box grater to do the job, and it worked like a charm.

I’m extra excited about these Paleo Zucchini Fritters because it’s one of the brand new recipes in my new ebook, The Paleo Athlete!

Ingredients for Paleo Zucchini Fritters:

 Directions for Paleo Zucchini Fritters:

  1. Shred the zucchini using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade. Put the shredded zucchini in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss well. Walk away for 10 minutes.Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com
  2. Now it’s time to squeeze all the moisture out of the zucchini (nobody likes soggy fritters). Note: if you’re really salt sensitive, you may want to rinse the zucchini with water, then squeeze it out. Scoop up a generous handful of the zucchini and squeeze the living daylights out of them into a sink or bowl. You want them dry. Place in a different bowl.Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com
  3. Add the coconut flour, egg and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a large spoonful of ghee or coconut oil in the pan. Pack a 1/4 cup measuring cup with the zucchini mixture, pressing it down inside the cup. Turn the cup out onto the pan and flatten the zucchini until you get a patty. You can also use a disher or just eyeball it. I fit about 4 – 5 in a large skillet at one time.
  5. Cook each side for 3 – 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Repeat until you‘ve used up all the zucchini mixture. Be sure to add more ghee or coconut oil to the pan each time you start a new batch.
  6. Cool on a cooling rack so they don’t get soggy.

Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com

Change it Up:

  • Add garlic powder or onion powder to the mix.
  • Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives or parsley.
  • Serve with a homemade dipping sauce like Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo.

Have you ever made zucchini fritters? What’d you think?

Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com

5 Questions with Justin from Limitless365

Today, we continue the “5 Questions with…” series with Justin Miller from Limitless365. You see, Justin’s not just a Paleo dude. His site is chock full of awesome tips for everything from fitness to happiness. I was introduced to Justin virtually through my friend Dave, graphic artist and creative entrepreneur behind Creatively Published (if you want to self-publish a book, check out his site) and Fresh Rag, and immediately liked the vibe he was sending out into the world. If you’re looking for coaching about how to do Paleo, Justin just may be the right fit for you. Without further adieu, here’s Justin’s answers to the my 5 questions…

coaching

What first brought you to eating Paleo/Primal? How did you find out about it?

I’ve actually been eating Paleo before I actually knew it was Paleo :) I grew up in a household where I was taught to cook by my grandmother by the age of 7 or 8, somewhere around there. She figured if I was going to be hanging around her all day I might as well make myself useful.

These cooking sessions helped as I grew up and started to discover what foods worked well for me and which ones did not. Around 18 I stopped playing competitive sports and started weight training, doing Crossfit style stuff, and experimenting with extreme sports. I kept logs and journals, all very detailed about how certain workouts and foods made me feel. I started to discover over time that I just didn’t feel right or get the results I was hoping both aesthetically and performance wise.

What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed with yourself since you’ve adopted the Paleo/Primal lifestyle?

By far the biggest one is digestion, followed by body composition. Bloating, water retention, among other things are no existent now.

I’ve actually noticed that I virtually have no appetitie. I have to remind or schedule myself to eat. I feel satiated all day long. Not good for a skinny dude but I’m okay with it.

Tell me about Limitless365 What’s your mission?

Over at the Lab I’m interested in getting better at being human. I spend most of my free time studying human behavior and why we do the things we do. I’ve come to find health, wealth, and personal relationships are the three biggest areas of life that many of us struggle with. Underneath those three topics falls many sub categories like confidence, procrastination, and love – amongst others but those three are areas that I want to master and share with others.

What motivated you to start coaching others? What’s the greatest thrill and the greatest challenge?

I got motivated to start coaching others when I realized so many people were coming to me through email, in person, etc. asking me what I do for workouts, nutrition, or why I’m in such a frickin good mood all the time :) And honestly, I love people! I consider myself a life enthusiast, knowledge junkie, and someone who loves to share what he learns with others. Wait a minute, I’m one of those people I despised so much growing up. (Gasp!) I’m a teacher.

The thrill is helping someone acheive something they originally thought impossible and even better if they have this complete personal transformation, body, mind, and soul. It’s amazing to see how health and wellness can affect someone’s confidence and self esteem, communication skills, and willingness to experience new things.

The greatest challenge is wanting to help too much. You can’t want someone to change or make improvements more than they want to and sometimes it can get frustrating.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why? 

I’d say a butterfly. They are so carefree and have the ability to change (metamorphosize) with ease and comfort, something that is super vital in the world today.

Catch up with Justin on social media…

His website

Facebook

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs…part curious oddity, part absolutely tantalizing mash up of burger and egg. My scotch egg inspiration is none other than Mel from The Clothes Make the Girl. You may know her as the fantabulous creator of cookbook Well Fed 2. Her Scotch Eggs recipe in Well Fed (the original) were nothing short of mind-blowing, and I’ve loved them ever since.

This is one of the 30 recipes featured in my upcoming ebook, The Paleo Athlete, coming in January! Click here to check out a preview chapter.

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

What’s a Scotch egg? Take seasoned ground meat, envelope a perfectly boiled egg inside and you get the protein-packed snack you see here. Traditionally, Scotch eggs are breaded (yuck…gluten!) so all we do is leave that part off. Easy peasy. There are as many conceivable combinations for seasonings and meat as you can imagine, but I was looking for a way to use my Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix with cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices. My mind wandered from pork to breakfast to breakfast sausage (and I remembered Popular Paleo made a breakfast-y Scotch egg recipe) and out popped these (ha…no pun intended). Another plus? They’re great as a pre-workout snack!

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Ingredients for Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs (makes 6):

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pound (500 grams) lean ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade gingerbread spice mix (click for recipe)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (optional)

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Directions for Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs:

  1. Boil 6 eggs. To prevent the yolks from getting grey, I cover the eggs with water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat off. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the hot water and cover with cold water for a few minutes. Peel and set aside. (You can boil the eggs ahead of time to save this step). Don’t use very fresh eggs…they’ll be harder to peel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, gingerbread spice mix, salt, pepper and honey (optional). Mix until combined but don’t over mix…that’ll make the meat tough. Now it’s time to assemble the scotch eggs.
  4. For each scotch egg: Fill a 1/3 cup measure with the seasoned ground pork and turn the lump into your hand. Flatten the pork into a wide circle (like you’re making a burger).Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  5. Put the egg in the center.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  6. Carefully fold the meat circle up, gradually flattening as you go, until the egg is shrouded in meaty goodness.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  7. Make sure there are no cracks and that the meaty suit of armor is uniform.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  8. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Eat hot or cold.

Change It Up:

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Have you ever tried Scotch eggs? Do you have a favorite flavor combo?

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

The Whole Athlete Seminar: Where Health Meets Performance

Whole Athlete Seminar

BIg news coming your way…I’ll be hitting the road in early 2014 with Dallas Hartwig of Whole9 to present a new seminar: The Whole Athlete: Where Health Meets Performance. We’re super passionate about helping competitive athletes and weekend warriors alike to perform at their best while staying healthy and enjoying quality of life.

Whole9′s regular nutrition seminars always cover information that anyone can apply to sport (like reducing systemic inflammation and how to approach post-workout nutrition), this seminar will be unique. We’re going to be specific about how to help you maximize performance.

Whole Athlete Seminar

The Whole Athlete: Where Health Meets Performance

While Dallas and I could fill up countless hours with content, we’re going to do our best to put it into one full-day seminar, covering:

  • Why athletes need to address nutrition first and foremost
  • Paleo nutrition for sports, during training and on competition day
  • Nutrition “hacks” – which to use (and when) and which to ignore
  • How to optimize lifestyle factors to make you healthier and better at your sport
  • Goal setting – determining what really matters to you, and creating the right plan to make it happen
  • Balancing nutrition, sleep, training, and recovery so that your hard training actually pays off
  • Dealing with injury – physically and psychologically
  • How to know whether you need more or less training to keep progressing
  • Detailed sleep recommendations – how to improve your sleep to improve your performance

Whole Athlete Seminar

The Whole Athlete Event Calendar

The first scheduled Whole Athlete event is a special one, held in partnership with one of the country’s top strength and conditioning facilities. At the request of Mike Rutherford (Coach Rut) of Max Effort Black Box (MEBB), Dallas and I will be presenting our Whole Athlete seminar in Kansas City, KS on Saturday, January 11, 2014.

Register here (and register early) for the Kansas City event.

Dallas and I are currently reviewing incoming seminar requests, and plan to schedule additional dates and locations for early 2014. If you are interested in hosting your own Whole Athlete event (or you think your gym should), email Whole9 at workshops@whole9life.com.

Whole Athlete Seminar

Dallas received a BS in Anatomy & Physiology from Andrews University in 2000, and an MS in Physical Therapy in 2001. He became a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist in 2003, and has since accumulated many health and exercise-related certifications, including RKC-certified kettlebell instructor, and Certified Sports Nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

He co-owned a strength and conditioning facility with his wife Melissa until founding Whole9 with her in 2009. They have since turned Whole9 one of the world’s premier Paleo-focused communities, and their site and original Whole30® program have grown to serve nearly a million visitors a month. In 2012, he co-authored the New York Times bestselling book It Starts With Food and founded his functional medicine practice, mentoring under one of the most respected practitioners in the country, Dr. Daniel Kalish.

In his free time, Dallas snowboards and mountain bikes, travels both for fun and for Whole9 nutrition seminars, and is always in some stage or another of growing a (mostly) respectable beard.

Whole Athlete Seminar

I’ve been a friend of Whole9 for several years. In 2011, I was appointed one of the first Whole9 Envoys. Later that year, I founded Stupid Easy Paleo.

Twelve years of science teaching experience, an extensive science background (Bachelor’s in Biology in 2002 and Master’s in Education in 2007), a certificate in holistic nutrition, and an unabashed love of tasty Paleo food combine to fuel my passion for Stupid Easy Paleo. I went Paleo in early 2010, and it didn’t take long until I decided I was never turning back.

Eating clean, nutrient-dense foods has fueled me both in life and as a competitive CrossFitter, mountain bike racer, and runner. I launched Stupid Easy Paleo as a way to help spread the word about how to make simple, tasty recipes to help people in their quests to just eat real food.

Are you interested in maximizing your athletic performance for sport? What questions or topics would you like to see us tackle?

Paleo Holiday Survival Guide

holiday clean eating guide

…aka “How to Stay Sane but Still Eat Healthy at the Most Tempting Time of the Year”.

…aka “How to Not End Up Like Buddy the Elf.” d29944f9ed6d6e0b65d7dfe721178ea71485977b07af2ba0f7a1909edf714e18

From Thanksgiving dinner with the relatives to your office holiday party, candy cane booby traps seem to be everywhere this time of year. I’m bringing you some of my best tips to survive the holiday season with your health intact so you won’t need a New Year’s resolution of losing weight…again.

Without further adieu, here are my top 10 tips for staying paleo and surviving the holidays:

#1 If possible, host a gathering or dinner at your place. 

Yes, this usually makes tons of extra work for you, but by hosting, you’ll have more control over the food offered. Chances are, folks won’t really even notice you’re not offering lots of grain-heavy choices, so don’t make a big deal about how you’ve banished bread. I’ve made a few paleo Thanksgiving dinners, and everyone walked away happy and full.

#2 Station yourself near the veggies.

If I’m out at a party, I home in on the veggies and meat options and properly set myself up with a plateful. Shrimp cocktail? You bet. Fresh veggies and fruit? Yup. It may not be as sexy as those holiday cookies, but you won’t end up with a sugar hangover the next day.

#3 Have a booze alternative.

If you’ve decided to forgo alcohol, have a substitute drink. That way, at the office or gym party, you can mingle and still have something sparkly in your hand while you’re socializing. One of my favorites is a Mediterranean Fizz from Mel of The Clothes Make the Girl…it’s sparkling water with a lime and olive garnish. For another option, check out my Easy Paleo Mocktails.

#4 If going to a party where you’re unsure of the food situation, eat at home first.

Sounds simple enough but I’ve been to enough parties where the main food options were sandwiches and gluten surprises of unknown origin that if I’m unsure about it, I eat at home before I go. Nothing’s worse than going hungry at a party then arriving home really late, starving. If you show up and there are options, cool…you can pick and choose and fill your belly up with stuff that’s not going to wreck you.

#5 Be prepared for travel.

Holiday season is prime time for travel to visit family and friends, but long hours in transit plus limited options in airports and truck stop convenience stores often lead to impulse eating. I’ve consumed my bodyweight in nuts on many a long trip because I wasn’t prepared. Stash paleo-friendly snacks in your bag if you’re going on a plane (click here for one of my favorites). If you’re going by car, consider bringing a cooler so you can nosh while on the go. Check out these posts from Popular Paleo and Whole9 for paleo foods that travel well.

 #6 Don’t start a clean-eating challenge during the holidays.

This one’s tough. Some folks take on 30 day paleo challenges over the holidays in an attempt to “be good” because there’s a structure in place that they’re committed to. While it sounds great in theory, I don’t recommend it. It’s one thing to make paleo versions of your favorite holiday foods but when you’re ultra restrictive around this time of year, there’s always the significant chance of going 180 in the other direction because the pressure and temptations are so high. Falling off the wagon big time is even more likely at this time of year because you need to exercise willpower virtually everywhere you go. Just like a muscle, willpower gets exhausted from overuse, too. From personal experience and what I’ve learned with clients and readers, save your 30 day challenges for after the holidays.

#7 Schedule time to be active and exercise.

Even if it’s a short walk or a workout at home, with time off around the holidays, it’s easy to fall into a rut. You don’t have to hammer yourself, but make time each day to get outdoors or get  a sweat on. You’ll keep your energy up and prevent some of the doldrums that seem arrive with the winter season.

#8 Get the bat signal ready.

When temptations arise, have someone you can send a bat signal in the sky to. It could be a work buddy, a trusted friend or a family member. Staring down a tray of Christmas cookies? Send a text or phone a friend. The buddy system works wonders.

#9 Resist the urge to be a paleo zealot.

If you’re loving paleo and all the great stuff it’s done for you – better sleep, more energy, fat loss, etc. – it’s so tempting to want to. Tell. EVERYONE. When’s a better time than having a captive audience at a holiday get together?! (I’m being facetious…this is a terrible time). As much as you want to tell Aunt Mary why her dinner roll causes gut permeability or your Uncle George about the blood sugar spike he’ll get after eating that slice of fruitcake, it’s probably not the time or place. Course, if someone asks all about the fabulous changes they’ve noticed in you, you may want to strategically talk about what you’ve been doing (like, “I eat plenty of meat, veggies and healthy fat”). Focusing on the positive always helps. Take it from me, discussing the downsides of grains at a holiday family party when it’s unsolicited often goes over poorly.

#10 Know where you can cut corners.

I’m assuming you’ve already done a strict 30 days of paleo (like a Whole30 or similar) at some point in your journey, right?! (wink wink) You should have a good idea of which foods you can be lax about and which are an absolute no-go. If gluten makes your guts tie into knots but dairy usually doesn’t bother you too much, you’ll know to studiously avoid the cookies while maybe having some holiday eggnog. If you’re out and you want to indulge a bit, pick a choice that won’t wreck you for days.

If there’s a super special treat that your mom only makes for Christmas and it’d fill you with joy to have it, I’d argue that’s where you could / should / would give in. A bag of red and green M & Ms every day through December 31 just isn’t special.

What’s your best tip for clean eating during the holidays?

blue lights 405 x 405

holiday lights 405 x 405

Kristen’s Story: The Healing Power of Food

BeforeAfter2Steph’s note:

Have you ever met a person that completely inspires you even though you’ve never met (yet) in person? Let me introduce you to Kristen from Living Loving Paleo because she’s an absolutely astounding human.

I first got to know Kristen through Instagram (follow her at @live_love_paleo and me at @stupideasypaleo while you’re at it), and it was her food that initially caught my eye. She’s got some super tasty, yummy-looking recipes. Recently, I looked further back at her pictures and I saw the one above. Immediately intrigued, I read her story and it left me in tears, inspired by how strong of spirit this vivacious young woman is.

You see, Kristen has battled serious disease for a huge chunk of her life, and food – good, clean Paleo food – has helped bring her back to health. I couldn’t wait to share Kristen’s story with you all in hopes that it’ll leave you inspired. Better yet, forward it on to someone in your life who’s sick.

Without further adieu…Kristen:

It’s been an incredibly long and bumpy road, to get to where I am today. None of it was easy. There were many times where I just wanted to give up, but I kept going, no matter what. I owed it to my husband, my family, my friends, and most importantly myself, to find my true health and a life that was really worth living. Countless doctors have told me that I would never heal, that I should expect to live my life sick, and that it would never get better. I was placed on medications that changed how I looked, that made me feel like I was going crazy, and that ultimately destroyed my immune system. My doctors may have given up on me, but that didn’t mean I was going to give up on myself. I knew deep inside that there had to be another way. Switching to a paleo diet has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was an easy change for me, because it made my dreams my reality. I now have the health that I’ve been dreaming of for so long. Now you will see, why this lifestyle, that lit a spark in me, has now become my complete passion. Welcome to my world.

Health wasn’t something that was given to me, I’ve had to fight for it since I was a kid. I fought incredibly hard, and I won. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 12, after dropping 30 pounds in a month, and I was already tiny. I was immediately put on all sorts of medications to lower my immune system, and hopefully put my disease into remission. At the age of 12, I was taking 96 pills a week. Not so much your ideal childhood. Unfortunately, back then I had no idea that the food I was consuming was literally killing me. My doctors never mentioned diet to me, so it wasn’t important, right?

I’ve faced many challenges over the past 17 years, some of which are still very hard for me look back on, as the memories are still very raw. When I was 21, I really started to see and feel the negative effects of the medications I was taking. These prescription drugs began to take a serious toll on my immune system. I had just started my final 2 years of college, to complete my degree in fashion design, and I was so excited for what was to come. One morning I woke up with a terrible sinus infection, and had also lost my voice. My voice didn’t come back for over a year and a half. Hard to even imagine, right? I was passed around from doctor to doctor, and unfortunately the most they could offer me were antibiotics, which basically worked like a short-term “band-aid.” Once my voice came back, the infection started to move into my ears. This is when I suddenly lost my hearing; I could hardly hear someone unless they were shouting. Let’s just say I became real good at reading lips. I had constant ear infections, and yet again, no doctor could treat me with anything but antibiotics. Antibiotics were becoming my way of life. I was frustrated, and life wasn’t exactly what I would call fun.

Looking back now, I can see the exact time when the course of my life changed forever. Back in May 2010, I was admitted into the hospital with fungal growth spots in my lungs, caused by the medication I was taking. I was immediately taken off of that medication, but I was running out of options. Throughout my life, when one medication stopped working (as they always did), I would be placed on the newest version that had come out. At the time, I never thought it was a big deal, until there were no more new medications. This time, I was placed on an old medication that I had taken when I was 14. My Crohn’s immediately went out of remission, and I became very sick. A few months later, I had become so sick that I was forced to leave my job as a fashion designer. Life was like Groundhogs Day. Everyday I woke up with no energy, and everyday I went to bed with no energy. That fall, I kept ending up in the ER with long hospital stays, due to obstructions in my large intestine. My intestines were so inflamed that the food I was eating could not pass. Obstructions are extremely dangerous, and my doctors were afraid my intestines would burst. I had been told for months that I needed to have surgery to have my entire colon removed. It’s not something I even wanted to imagine.

As I spent that Christmas in the hospital, I knew I couldn’t go on like this for much longer. I had pneumonia for the third time, and an infection in my blood, which had come from my intestines. I was incredibly weak, but I put on a smile, and I kept going. My immune system was non-existent, due to 14 years straight of crazy, harsh meds. So I made the hardest decision of my life, took a leap of faith, and had surgery.

The picture on the left was taken February 4, 2011. The day I had my entire large intestine, and part of my small intestine surgically removed. I was placed on 100mg of prednisone, which is why I look all cute like a marshmallow. Visitors aren’t usually allowed into the recovery room, but they made a special exception for my husband, as it was a major operation and I was a high-risk patient, with a next-to-nothing immune system. My husband makes my world go round, I will never know how he’s stayed so strong for over 10 years now. I told him that I would give him a “thumbs up” when he saw me, letting him know I was ok. The “thumbs up” was easy, let’s be real, I was drugged out of my mind.

This surgery saved my life. Leading up to surgery, my body was failing me. As a kid, I had no idea that the medications I thought were helping me, would eventually turn and show me their very dark side.

My doctors could save my life, but they couldn’t make me healthy. They told me my immune system would rebound within 6 months of stopping the Crohn’s meds. That never happened. These meds are so powerful, they literally change the entire structure of your immune system. I had been sick for so long, and I was so tired of it. I was on antibiotics all the time, and my doctors told me to just accept that this would be my life.

See, here’s the other thing. What my doctors didn’t know, is who exactly they were saying this to. I had a life to live, and their words wouldn’t stop me. Exactly 2 years to the day since my surgery, I took the plunge into the paleo world, 100%. Since that day, I never looked back, and I never will. Words cannot truly tell you how much this lifestyle has changed my world.

Within a few days, I noticed that the inflammation I didn’t even realize I had, was gone! The awful sinus infections I constantly had are now also gone! The painful staph infection I’ve had in my nose, for the past 7 years…gone! Antibiotics are becoming a distant memory. I’m by far the healthiest I’ve ever been. Physically, I’m very strong now. Mentally, I’m unbreakable.

Against my doctor’s advice, I haven’t taken a single medication for my Crohn’s since the day of my surgery. Those drugs come with serious consequences that I will no longer accept, because I know I have other options. I know better, so I do better. I am well aware my Crohn’s could come back at any time. Paleo gives me control over my disease, which is the most amazing feeling!

They said it couldn’t be done. They still don’t believe that a simple shift in my diet has healed me. They think paleo is a terrible decision. They said none of this would be possible.

All I have to say is, look at me now! My life before paleo is completely unrecognizable to me. I am so grateful to have my second chance!

BeforeAfter2

What do you think about the power of food to heal?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding (Paleo and Dairy-Free)

Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding | StupidEasyPaleo.com Look familiar?

This deep chocolatey, rich treat (good for an every once in a while occasion…not daily, right?!) is so easy to make. A couple months back, I posted a very similar recipe with gelatin and some folks wrote in requesting other options for thickeners. I reworked the ingredients just slightly and the result was equally tasty and simple but gelatin-, egg- and dairy-free! I served it in small dessert cups for just the perfect little bite. Tiny spoons are fun, too.

DSC_0062

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding:

Directions for Dark Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, chopped dark chocolate and cocoa powder.
  2. Warm the milk until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds and vanilla extract. [Hint: add the chia seeds while stirring continuously or else they will stick to the bottom of the pan in one big gelatinous lump. Not cool.]
  3. Stir thoroughly until the chia seeds begin to thicken the mixture a bit.
  4. Pour into small serving cups and refrigerate for at least an hour until the mixture is very thick.
  5. Top with shaved dark chocolate or coconut whipped cream.

Change It Up:

Sprinkle with cinnamon or cardamom.

Have you ever used chia seeds as a thickener?

chocolate 405 x 405

 

Confessions of a Paleo Loser

Cropped image of beautiful woman with finger on her lips - copyspace It’s high time I fessed up to how much of a Paleo loser I am.

Growing up, I was sort of a chubby kid. I got boobs earlier than every one of my female classmates. Then I got braces before everyone, too (go me!). I had a weird hair cut, was awkward and felt like such a loser. I spent hours obsessing about being skinnier and how my stomach always puffed out after I ate. Later in my teen years came the fainting spells (senior year in Miss Bailey’s class was a memorable one). In short, I grew up hating my body. If I actually calculated it, I’ve probably lost a couple years of my life down in the depths of negative thoughts.

I always hoped somehow it’d get better as I got older because “healthy” eating was totally on my radar in my 20s. Soymilk and whole grain pasta and fat free cheese…oh my! Somehow I felt worse. Strange intestinal problems and more fainting (like one time at work) and acne down one side of my back. I was so confused. Despite being active and eating all these things that were supposed to be good for me, I resigned myself to feeling like crap because that was my “normal”.

Fast forward to 2009 when I found Paleo. It wasn’t like the heavens opened up and glowing light fell all around me when I picked up a copy of Paleo Diet for Athletes. Instead, I thought, “This sounds crazy, but I’ll try anything.”

So why am I a Paleo loser? By eating Paleo…

  • I lost my bloated belly.
  • I lost the fainting spells.
  • I lost my weird back acne.
  • I lost the weird energy swings.
  • I lost the feeling of always being hungry.
  • I lost my sugar addiction.
  • I lost extra body fat.
  • I lost my fear of eating fat and my dysfunctional relationship with food.
  • I lost my negative self image.

I also gained a bunch too…a ton of muscle mass, lots of energy, mountains of strength and more importantly, self-acceptance.

before & after paleo 6

I was COMPELLED to create my Real Food. Real Good. eCourse…to help others be losers too because PALEO CHANGED MY LIFE. I want to help you get more energy, lose fat and heal yourself from the inside out by eating real, nutrient-dense, nourishing Paleo foods just like I did. No smoke and mirrors. No deprivation. No extreme tricks.

My Real Food. Real Good. eCourse – with video lessons, PDF guides and my super-duper companion cookbook is usually $39 but right now it’s on sale as part of the Fall Into Health Autumn Bundle. You have to act now because the sale ends Sunday November 10! For the price of my course, you get the whole bundle which includes:

  • 47 health and real food ebooks like The Paleo Survival Guide, Awaken: 30+ Grain-Free and Egg-Free Breakfasts, and my cookbook!
  • 2 other online courses
  • 2 meal plans
  • 15 exclusive podcasts
  • 2 online magazines
  • Over $500 in online coupons for products I trust

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That’s $2000 worth of premium quality resources for just $39.

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I want you to stand proud and be a Paleo loser just like me! Click here now to get your bundle…sale ends 11/7 EXTENDED through Sunday 11/10!!

November Giveaway: 1-Quart Le Creuset French Oven ($140 Value)

Thank you to all who entered…the giveaway is now closed and the lucky winner is…

#1830 Kim B. (kbe…….@……..net)! Congratulations Kim! 

It’s time to announce the November giveaway! Drum roll please…as chosen by popular vote, it’s a 1-Quart Le Creuset Cast Iron Round French Oven (a $140 value)!

November Giveaway copy

This is a seriously awesome prize…the Rolls Royce of enameled cookware. I’ve been wanting a Le Creuset enameled Dutch oven of my own for. so. long (maybe Santa will bring me one if I’m good). These pieces of cookware are so rad because they’re cast iron on the inside and enamel on the outside. They heat very evenly and the enameled surface is unreactive – great for acidic foods like tomato sauce. By the way, the difference between the Dutch oven and the French oven is simply the shape: oval versus round.

What can you use this Le Creuset French Oven for? It’s perfect for low and slow braising, soups and stews…great for the winter months ahead. It’s oven safe, too, and with proper care will last for years! The winner will get to choose between the four colors below (clockwise from top left): Marseilles (blue), Flame (orange), Soleil (yellow) or Cherry (red), pending availability at the time the giveaway ends.

Check this out!

Before you enter for a chance to win, go check out the amazing Fall Into Health Autumn Bundle  Sale going on now through November 7.

  • 47 e-books – $985 value
  • 3 Online Classes – $280 value
  • 3 Meal Plans – $220 value
  • 15 Exclusive Podcast Interviews – $45 value
  • 2 Magazines – $63 Value
  • Discount Coupons – over $500 value
  • It’s a $2000 value for only $39. Click here to learn more.

How to Enter for a Chance to Win a 1-Quart Le Creuset French Oven

It’s simple…use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

1. You MUST be signed up for my mailing list (the first option) for a chance to win. After you complete your entry, be sure to check your email inbox and confirm your subscription (your email address remains private, and I don’t spam…EVER).

2. You can earn bonus entries via the widget below for doing the following:

  • Liking Stupid Easy Paleo on Facebook
  • Pinning this giveaway on Pinterest
  • Following Stupid Easy Paleo on Pinterest
  • Following Stupid Easy Paleo on Twitter

The contest will end on November 30, 2013 at 11:59 PST. The winner will be announced on December 1, 2013 on the Stupid Easy Paleo blog and Facebook and must claim the prize by December 3, 2013 or else another winner will be chosen. This contest is open to all readers, regardless of country. If you live outside the United States, you’ll receive an Amazon gift certificate in the amount of the prize.

Check out the awesome features of the French oven here, and tell me what you plan on making in the comments below!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway