Category Archives: Whole30

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken by Beyoutifully Delicious

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Candace from Beyoutifully Delicious to the blog again. A couple weeks ago, I featured her PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw, and it’s gotten rave reviews. Candace is all about good food with big flavor, and this recipe will not disappoint. Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Last Easter I came up with a fresh strawberry dressing that gave a subtle sweetness to a spring green salad. For the protein to compliment the slaw, I updated it as a marinade with some heat. There’s nothing like salty, sweet AND spicy. Now we’re talking game-changer.

I love this marinade on mahi-mahi, it’s a flakey fish that has a really clean taste to it. None of that “fishy” business that tends to draw people away from ocean proteins. If seafood is not your thing, this is perfect for chicken too.

You can easily flavor swap blackberry or apricot for the strawberry as they work well with chili peppers. I would use fresh apricots rather than dried just because I want to keep my sugar in check. It’s very easy for that to get crazy if I’m not intentional about food preparation.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

This is enough for two (6 ounce or 340 grams) filets of mahi-mahi or chicken breasts.

  • 1-1/4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberries, crushed into a powder (sub: 1 Tbsp apple juice)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thai chilis or 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Directions for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients except coconut oil and blend on high.
  2. Turn down the speed a little and slowly drizzle in coconut oil.
  3. Marinate the meat or fish for at least 2 hours and grill it until it’s no longer pink inside, about 4 minutes per side. Discard the leftover marinade. Or, bring the leftover marinade to a boil and cook it for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria.

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Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comment box below!

Ghee: What Is This Healthy Fat?

Ghee: What is This Healthy Fat? | stupideasypaleo.com

Ghee…what is this healthy fat that’s becoming so popular in the Paleo & real food world?

Essentially, ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s been cooked a bit longer to give it a nutty flavor. It’s got some fantastic properties that make it both healthy and good to cook with.

But first, let’s settle something: Ghee, derived from butter, is technically a dairy product. Yep. There it is. Dairy. Even if you’re a very strict Paleo-eater, don’t click away just yet. There are some reasons why ghee is a superior fat and one of the least problematic dairy products out there. Put simply, ghee is pure fat.

How is Ghee Made?

Ghee (rhymes with “me”) is made by heating butter slowly until all the water cooks off and the proteins coagulate in the bottom of the pan. The ghee is poured off and strained, solidifying once it has cooled. Ghee is cooked longer than traditional clarified butter which gives it a nutty, butterscotchy aroma. Basically, ghee smells like victory. If you’ve ever caught yourself just smelling the ghee jar for no reason, you’re not alone. Ahem.

It’s easy to find ghee is most large markets and health food stores, and if you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own. When it comes to purchasing or making your own ghee, make sure the butter is from grass-fed, organic cows: If the butter is white or very pale yellow, it’s probably not high-quality. The fat produced from grass-fed cows is superior for a few reasons which are mentioned in the next section.

To see my favorite brand of ghee, click here.

But, Isn’t It Still Dairy?

Technically. But. BUT.

The reason why dairy is not part of a rigid Paleo template is because it can cause inflammation, sensitivities and intolerances. (Milk is a complex brew of proteins, carbohydrates and fat of which folks are generally sensitive to either the proteins or the carbohydrates, not the fat.)

Ghee is pure butter fat without the components that can make dairy problematic for many people. Note: If you’re really dairy sensitive, trace amounts of these proteins—such as casein—may remain and cause issues, but for most folks, it doesn’t.

Need more convincing? Even my friends over at Whole30 have made ghee the only Whole30-approved dairy product—and trust me, they’re known for their incredibly high standards.

So what’s so special about this delicious, golden butterfat? Cows that feed on grass produce butterfat with more conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid), vitamin K2, beta carotene (which is why it’s so vibrant yellow), vitamin A and a better Omega-3 fatty acid ratio than those fed on grain. Try to go with ghee made from grass-fed butter when you can.

And, butterfat is high in saturated fatty acids. In other words, it’s a healthy fat. Need to know more about saturated vs. unsaturated fats? Read here.

3 Reasons Why Ghee is a Star In My Kitchen

Besides the aforementioned, when it comes to cooking, ghee is my favorite fat to use in the kitchen for these reasons:

  • It has a really high smoke point: 485°F (252°C), far higher than coconut oil, olive oil, lard, butter, etc. This makes it ideal for high temperature cooking.
  • It’s incredibly shelf-stable. Ghee will last for months without refrigeration, though it’s recommended that you store it away from direct light and heat and only use clean, dry utensils to remove it from its jar. Keep it tightly covered when not in use.
  • It has a rich depth of flavor and adds a complexity to many foods that can’t be achieved with other oils or fats. Plus, I know a lot of folks don’t like the taste of coconut oil so ghee is a great alternative.

Wondering what you can make with ghee? Try this silky, delicious Ghee Hollandaise, this decadent Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta or this wonderfully colorful Ratatouille.

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Ghee: What is This Healthy Fat? | stupideasypaleo.com

Have you ever tried ghee? What do you think?

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Give a hearty welcome to my guest blogger, Cassy from Fed & Fit. Cassy is a quadruple threat: She has mad kitchen skills, is an ace behind the camera, gets her sweat on at CrossFit and is one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. On her blog Fed & Fit, Cassy brings approachable yet flavor-packed recipes with her signature step-wise photography that always leaves me drooling on my keyboard. I’m super excited to introduce you to her today! Make sure to make these Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers and go follow her on social media…you won’t be disappointed. Take it away, Cassy!

Oh my word…I’m on Stupid Easy Paleo! I just adore Steph, and you know what? I adore you, too. I adore you because you’re here, you’re a part of the Real Food movement, and you probably have a thing for crispy chicken fingers. All reasons we can be great friends.

Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and I go way back. Once upon a time, I was a student at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and I LIVED off of buffalo chicken fingers from a lovely little dining establishment called Wings ‘n More. While my health was rapidly declining, I was rapidly falling in love with comfort foods. Since going Paleo about 4 years ago, I gave up those delicious little strips of perfectly spicy, salty, gooey, but still miraculously crunchy chicken wonders. I gave them up plus the fries and ranch dressing that went with them.

Like a message was sent to me from above, I woke up one morning with the conviction a Paleo version MUST exist in this world. It needs to happen for you, for me, and for all those 20-something college students who think the gluten-coated, MSG-dusted, filler-fed restaurant chicken is their only option.

This Paleo-friendly crispy buffalo chicken finger is made possible by my good friend, the pork rind. Sometimes called chicharrones, sometimes called cracklin’s, pork skins are a crunchy, light, fluffy chip made by frying pork skin in it’s own rendered fat. They make for an occasional crunchy treat or can substitute as breading!

In an effort to create that reminiscent thick buffalo breading, I crafted a hybrid between my famous Paleo buffalo sauce and an egg wash.

Keep scrolling for my step-by-step photo instructions, tips and tricks.

I also recommend you check out my Paleo-friendly ranch dressing! Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and ranch dressing are a match made in heaven. Just saying.

Our recipe starts with about one pound of (ideally, pastured) chicken strips.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Next up, the buffalo egg wash! Crack two eggs into a bowl.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now add 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Then the juice of one lemon.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

2 teaspoons of onion powder.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

And then 2 teaspoons of paprika.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now you get to choose your level of spice! For HOT add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, add 1 teaspoon for medium, or add ½ teaspoon for mild. I opted for medium.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Lastly, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or sea salt.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Got all your ingredients loaded up?

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Whisk until well combined and set aside while we focus on our crunchy breading.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

The most important thing to remember when you’re buying pork skins is to read the label. You want to make sure the ingredients only read, “pork and salt.” Avoid bags with anything else listed.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Measure out about 5 cups of pork skins into a gallon-sized plastic bag.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Smash ‘em up! You’re also welcome to pulse the pork rinds in a food processor for a few minutes but A) I like to avoid washing more dishes than necessary and B) think smashing things is fun and therapeutic.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Once they’re mostly broken up, pour them in a bowl.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Make sure your oven is set to 400°F (200°C) and grab all your components!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Dip each chicken strip in the buffalo sauce.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Make sure it’s well coated.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Then lay it in the breading.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Pull it out when the crunchy pork goodness has it all covered up.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Lay the strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Ta-da!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

I recommend you plate with some crunchy vegetables and a side of Paleo-friendly ranch dressing.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Enjoy!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:

Directions for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Whisk the eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Dip each chicken strip into the buffalo egg wash then lay in the pork rind breading, coating both sides.
  4. Place breaded strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Follow Cassy on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter

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Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Cassy? Leave them in the comments below.

PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw by Beyoutifully Delicious

PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please give a super warm welcome to my guest blogger Candace, better known around the Web as the creative mind behind Beyoutifully Delicious. She’s incredibly sweet and wickedly innovative in the kitchen, and I know you’re going to love her Paleo recipes. In fact, look out for part two of this recipe (a Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken) that’ll be posting next week! Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Coleslaw was never really my thing. Anytime I had it, it was mushy, drippy and tasted like that Miracle Whip crap. Bleh!

The greatest thing about cooking is you can always make something your own and give it your personal signature. I love peanut dressing and Pad Thai but I have really given up the peanut madness since turning my food over to the “Paleo Way.” I think I was having issues with it anyhow.

I love the texture of Napa cabbage so I make this star of the show, complimented by grated beets which are perfect for sweeping out those pesky phytoestrogens, carrots and fresh pineapple. No canned fruit in syrup here! This combination makes the perfect second post-workout meal where I start tapering off my carbs, upping my fat along with another big hunk o’ protein. It’s satisfying without leaving me weighted down.

Ingredients for PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw:

For the slaw

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup grated beets
  • 3 cups shredded Napa Cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed raw cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, torn

For the dressing

Directions for the PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw:

  1. Make sure you dry the veggies with paper towels or kitchen towels if they’re really damp. The pineapple will add moisture so you don’t need any extra.
  2. Add veggies and pineapple to a large bowl.
  3. Make the dressing: In a blender add the water, then add the remainder of ingredients. Blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy dressing.
  4. Use half of the dressing and toss the salad together, mixing well until everything is coated.
  5. Garnish with the cashews, green onions and cilantro.

Connect with Candace and Beyoutifully Delicious here: blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

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PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Candace? Leave them in the comments below!

Paleo Zucchini Frittata Guest Post

Paleo Zucchini Frittata is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts, perfect for busy folks and athletes. You can make up a batch ahead of time, slice it when it cools and take it with you for post-workout or just along for the ride to work.

Paleo Zucchini Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

I created this recipe specifically for Breaking Muscle, sohead on over there to check out the ingredients and how to get one of these beauties baking in your oven today!

Click here for the recipe → Paleo Zucchini Frittata!

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

Questions? Let me know in the comment field below!

Too Busy to Cook? How to Unlock More Time!

Too Busy to Cook? How to Unlock More Time! | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: This is the second in a three-part series about your time and your health brought to you by my guest blogger Justin of Limitless365. (Click here to read Part 1.) 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!

Too busy to cook? How to unlock more time!

Too often, people are simply told to eat healthy but they’re not told how to make it happen. Eating healthy involves more than just the act of putting food in your mouth. The “healthy” part of eating requires you do at least two essential things.

In this post, you’ll discover two powerful and fundamental principles that you should consider when making time for healthy eating.

Without them, it’s virtually impossible for you to eat health.

What’s On Your Menu?

Phil Jackson, the winningest coach in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) history, was once quoted saying, “We came here with a plan: We’re NOT going to let this game get by us.”

Jackson won eleven NBA championship titles, six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Like Phil Jackson, we’re all attempting to win a championship when it comes to our health. That’s why we can’t let important aspects of our health, like good nutrition, get by us. We have to come with a plan; otherwise, anything goes. And, instead of winning the game of health, you set yourself up for defeat.

That said, when it comes to eating healthy a plan or menu is crucial.

A weekly or monthly menu frees you from the burden and hassle of having to think about “what to eat” and “how much to eat” every time you get hungry. Furthermore, having a pre-planned menu allows you to shop and gather everything you need so that you’re ready to do some healthy cooking or eating when it’s time.

Here’s what to do:

  • Each week, sit down and write out a menu with at least your core three meals for the day. Also, it’s very helpful to consider two or three healthy snacks (or post-workout snacks for athletes).
  • Creating a menu isn’t as hard as it might appear because most people are very comfortable eating the same “breakfast” or snacks each day. When it comes to lunch and dinner, you can mix things up as you see fit. Also, leftovers can sometimes make for excellent snacks.
  • You can even schedule in a day to dine out and / or enjoy your favorite dessert, etc. Making a date for such “fun foods” allows you to more easily enjoy healthier foods for the other six of the week.
  • (Steph’s note: You can also find monthly pre-paid Paleo meal plans here!)

Your weekly menu will take into consideration:

  • Main meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Snacks—two or three
  • Dining out, fun foods, desserts, etc.

Are You Prepared?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Preparing for your tasks, goals and health is crucial to their success. You cannot succeed with healthy eating until you’ve prepared.

Part of the preparation is creating your menu (plan). Your menu then allows you to prepare for healthy eating / cooking by stocking your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer with the essentials.

Review your menu. Then purchase and stock those items in your home. And be sure not to go grocery shopping while hungry; otherwise, your cart will be sprinkled with bad choices.

Also, avoid storing your once-a-week “fun foods” or desserts in your home. If you, allow yourself to indulge in these foods once each week, then only purchase those on that day—and just enough for that day. Stocking calorie-rich, nutrient-poor foods almost ensures that you’ll grab them instead of a healthy choice, especially on those days you are feeling down or tired.

After shopping, there are a few other important essentials to make sure you’re prepared to eat healthily, such as: 

  • Setting aside or scheduling time each day—or a few times each week—to prepare your meals
  • Preparing more than one meal at a time. Instead, cook large portions that can be refrigerated or frozen for use later in the day and/or week.
  • Preparing breakfast, lunch and other meals the night before, when possible

It’s important to be patient with yourself until you succeed at planning and preparing healthy meals. It’s a great idea to focus on consistently improving only one meal each week. Breakfast is often an excellent meal to start with. Therefore, if completing an entire menu or preparing for every meal seems too much, then start with only one meal per day.  This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed or quitting. Again, be patient.

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Too Busy to Cook? How to Unlock More Time! | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the box below!

Tasty Taco Salad by Living Loving Paleo

Tasty Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing | stupideasypaleo.com

Please welcome Kristen, my guest blogger and a special friend of mine, to the blog. I’ve come to know Kristen through her Instagram, and her story of sickness to wellness so touched my heart that I knew I had to share it on the blog. (Click here to read it, then come right back!) Kristen’s passion for food is clear in her super awesome blog, Living Loving Paleo, and her recipes are simple, approachable and nourishing. Take it away, Kristen!

One thing I super, duper missed when I first changed my diet to a Paleo diet was definitely sauces and dressings, especially creamy ones. I honestly thought I’d never see them again. I drew a blank when it came to making my own, as I never had before. Honestly, making my own dressings intimidated me, and I figured it would be difficult and time consuming (neither of which I’m a fan of). Then, I discovered just how easy and fast it is to make your own, and I knew I could never go back!

My life was completely turned around by changing the food that I put on my plate, and for the first time in a really long time I was healthy. I was determined to make recipes for my own sauces and dressings that fit my new lifestyle, and that were completely delicious! I love a great salad, and to me, a salad is completely made by the dressing. I must say, the dressing that I created for this taco salad makes it extra special. Store bought dressings don’t even compare! I hope you all love it as much as my family did. Happy cooking!

Ingredients for Tasty Taco Salad:

For the base of the salad, I used romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes & avocado. Feel free to use any veggies you like.

Ingredients for Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons cilantro, minced

Directions for Tasty Taco Salad:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning to the meat and mix well.
  3. While the meat is cooking, make the simple dressing. Place the oil, egg, mustard powder, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic and salt in a tall container. (I use a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup). Place an immersion blender at the bottom and turn on. Once the mixture starts to blend together and become thick, move the immersion blender towards the top, until it is well blended. This should take less than a minute! Stir in the cilantro. [Steph's note: No immersion blender? Place the egg, mustard powder, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic and salt into a blender and let these come to room temperature. Run the blender for about 30 seconds, then with the blender on medium speed, very slowly (in a thin stream) drizzle in the avocado oil until the mayo has thickened.]
  4. Top your salad with the meat and dressing! Enjoy!

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taco salad 2

 

The Problem with Macros

The Problem with Macros | stupideasypaleo.com

When it comes to the quest for healthier eating, there are two ways to approach things: quality and quantity, and what’s become abundantly clear to me in this Paleo world is that we have a problem with macros. And blocks. And points. And whatever other made-up-system is used to count and measure food.

The problem with macros (or blocks or points) is multi-faceted and let me just say that it’s possible to do any “diet” or food paradigm poorly. Putting your hand in a bottomless jar of Paleo cookies is no better than snort-laughing and eye-rolling at the thought of vegan cheese on top of a tofurkey sandwich.

The 1st Problem with Macros: Quantity does not equal quality.

Not all foods are created equal. An apple’s better than a Snickers (like, duh) but the problem with macros is that simply counting them doesn’t mean the protein, carbs and fat you’re eating are optimal or even health-promoting. Buttery spread is not better than butter. (If you need more convincing, read Eat the Yolks.) Beans are not better than sweet potato. (Those gorgeous tubers have more micronutrition bang for the carb buck.) And isolated pea protein is not better than a steak from a grass-fed cow. (The amount of processing matters, yo.)

I get it. I used to do Weight Watchers-ish (counting without going to meetings) back in the early 2000s. Tallying up my “points” was a way for me to feel in control—and unbeknownst to me at the time, severely restrict calories—but damned if I didn’t look forward to my Skinny Cow ice cream sammies, my I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray and all kinds of other processed crap. So while I met my daily points, I did it in a way that was pretty horrifying looking back as 2014 Me.

Even if you’re within your macro totals, my question is: Are a majority of the foods you’re selecting whole and unprocessed? Nutrient dense? Anti-inflammatory? Do they promote a healthy hormonal balance? Stable energy levels? Good body composition? Slow and steady fat loss?

If the answers are yes, cool. If you’re meeting your macros or blocks or calories or whosy-whats-its with pints of Ben & Jerry’s and Lean Cuisines, then Houston, we have a problem. (And, you’ve come to the right place to start making positive changes.) 2000 calories of chips does not provide what 2000 calories of quality meat, fresh produce and healthy fats does. For the bajillionth time: Not all foods (or edible things) are created equal.

The 2nd Problem with Macros: Are you still hungry? Yeah, I thought so.

Even if your ducks are in a row with regard to the quality issue, I have to ask: Are you still hungry?

Honestly. Is the amount of food you’re eating leaving you satisfied and nourished, or do you suffer from constant hunger (or even worse, hanger), worrying about when your next meal is or if you’re going to go to bed hungry? In all seriousness, a little hunger now and then is fine, but when it’s your normal state of being, something’s broken.

Mild caloric restriction for the purposes of shifting body composition, whether you meet it through macropointcalories or just eating a little bit less *of the right foods*, should still not leave you with perpetually gnawing hunger.

If you’re not trying to shift body composition but you’re concerned that you need to keep tracking things, continuing to count long-term and ignore your body’s own hard-wired signals of hunger and satiety is doing you a disservice. You’re an adult who shouldn’t have to be chained to a spreadsheet, a food scale, an app or a website to track every morsel that passes your lips.

Ask yourself if your current plan is leaving you not just fed but nourished. Are you surviving or thriving? Even if your numbers are perfect, are you really healthier?

The 3rd Problem with Macros: It Robs Your Freedom

Tracking and counting have their place (like creating a food journal for a nutrition coach or getting rid of portion distortion), but doing it for weeks, months and years on end is not a way to live.

Planning and cooking meals with care, having body composition goals (muscle gain / fat loss) and steering the boat toward food quality is one thing. Let’s call that dedication. Worrying about food, not eating out because you can’t count your macros or figure out blocks and generally feeling like you’re beholden to the numbers is another thing. Let’s call that dysfunction. Even when the intention is good, in practice, things can quickly spiral out of control and leave you disempowered to make the real choices about food that will put you in a truly healthy place—both physically and mentally.

What to Do?

Before sending all the IIFYM folks my way, know that if you’re focusing on food quality in addition to quantifying, you’re doing okay regarding problem #1. But. BUT. You may still be struggling with #2 and / or #3.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Why am I counting macropointblocks?
  • Am I trying to make some distinct changes in body composition or am I just after overall health?
  • Am I truly nourishing my body?
  • Am I shoving poor food choices into a shiny looking macropointblock counting system?
  • Does this behavior cause me stress?
  • Am I really in touch with feelings of hunger and satiety?
  • Do I put a premium on food quality?

Only you can know if the answers are telling you to step away from counting macros and blocks and points.

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The Problem with Macros | stupideasypaleo.com

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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!

Whole30 Wrap “Party”

Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

 You finished! It’s a Whole30 Wrap Party!

High five…fist bump…handshake.

Whatever congratulatory gesture you can think of, I’m going to dole it out because YOU FINISHED YOUR WHOLE30! (Either that or you’re about to finish soon, so revisit this post when you’re through.)

No doubt, you learned something about yourself through this process since it’s a learning tool upon which to make some informed decisions about what your eating might look like going forward into this thing we call life. And yes, you must go forward. You see, it can be tempting to want to stay Whole30 for a long time because it makes the decision-making around food easier. It’s almost like making food choices a little less sexy because you can just default to Whole30 guidelines to do it for you. (Other people, however, have noooo problem jumping back into crappy old eating patterns.)

What’s the best strategy? It’s impossible for me to tell you because, simply put, I’m not you, but I think you’d agree the answer lies somewhere in between these polar opposites. Living by Whole30 rules for the rest of your life sounds pretty unrealistic, as does throwing away everything you’ve learned about yourself and eating processed, nutrient-poor foods for every meal. As Dallas & Melissa put it:

“You can’t – and shouldn’t – live within the strict parameters of the Whole30 forever. Yep, at some point… you’ve gotta take the training wheels off the bike.” 

Click here to read more about how to Ride Your Own Bike.

What about reintroducing foods you may want to start eating again? First, if you don’t want to add a food back into your diet, there’s nothing saying you have to. If you feel great without gluten or dandy without dairy, you are free to avoid it as you see fit. But. (And there’s always a but.)

Don’t do that thing where you get so excited about Day 31 that you go on an epic binge of all the foods you’ve wanted to eat for the past month. You know…that thing of where a slice of pizza becomes *a* pizza with some soda and a piece of chocolate cake and then some ice cream. If you end up with a sore gut, you won’t necessarily know which food caused your tummy to play Twister. Click to read more about how to reintroduce foods after your Whole30.

And yes, you may now step on the scale if you want. Or don’t. (Click to read more about the scale and why I think you should ditch it for good.)

Time to Celebrate

As much as I’d like to throw you an actual party, it’d be hard to cram everyone in the same room, so here’s how we’ll celebrate your successes:

#1 Wave your flag!

Click to save this awesome banner and put it on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram! Be proud. You’ve earned the right to brag a little! To pin, click here. Or to save, right click and choose “Save Image As”.

Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Share your story!

In the comments below, tell us how it went—the good, the bad and even the ugly. What did you learn about yourself? For example, maybe you didn’t realize how much dairy was affecting the clarity of your skin or how hangry you always got at 3 p.m. What did you lose? Body fat, that nagging knee pain or points off your blood pressure, for example. What did you gain? Maybe it was self-confidence or an appreciation of the natural sweetness in foods.

#3 Start a ripple!

As tempting as it may feel right now to start mailing your loved ones their own copies of It Starts With Food—I did that with my mom…it didn’t go so well!—or doing a drive-by and posting Whole30 stuff to their Facebook walls, sometimes your good intentions may backfire. (Loved ones are the hardest to convince to do _________ better.) What you can do is be supportive of someone who comes to you asking for advice or help; start your own blog chronicling your Whole30 story; or buy a loaner copy of the book so when folks do come asking, you can lend a text out.

#4 A sweet giveaway!

I’ll be choosing one lucky reader at random to receive a free copy of my eBook, The Paleo Athlete (a $24.99 value)! You must leave a comment for #2 above (Share your story!), and I’ll select a winner by 11:59 p.m. PST on Monday, February 3, 2014.

Congrats to Bridget! She was selected at random to win a copy of my eBook. Thanks, everyone, for sharing and keep your stories coming in!

Let’s get this party started! Remember to comment below.

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Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

Sweet Potato Applesauce Mash

Sweet Potato Applesauce Mash | stupideasypaleo.com

When I competed on the team at the 2013 CrossFit SoCal Regionals, we had tubs full of mashed sweet potato with applesauce at the ready as one of our post-workout carb refeed options.

You can mix the sweet potato and applesauce in any ratio you want, but I’d do just a little bit of applesauce for flavor—a 4:1 ratio of potato to apple would be great—and to lighten the texture of what could otherwise be a very dense mash. For more awesome carb-dense recipes for athletes, check out my ebook, The Paleo Athlete!

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Applesauce Mash

  • 2 pounds (1000 grams) sweet potato
  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) apples or 1 cup unsweetened store-bought applesauce
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee, optional

Directions for Sweet Potato Applesauce Mash

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Roast the sweet potatoes for about an hour. Let them cool.
  3. If you’re making the applesauce from scratch, do this while the sweet potatoes are roasting. Peel and dice the apples. Put into a small pot with a 2–3 tablespoons of water and cover with a lid. Cook over medium-low heat until the apples are very soft. Remove the lid and cook until most of the water has evaporated.
  4. Peel the skins off the sweet potatoes. Combine with the applesauce in a large bowl and mash with a hand masher until it’s to your desired consistency, or use a food processor.

Change It Up

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Sweet Potato Applesauce Mash | stupideasypaleo.com

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Sound good? Would you use this for your post-workout carb recovery?

How To Instantly Love Yourself More

How To Instantly Love Yourself More | stupideasypaleo.com

How To Instantly Love Yourself More In 3 Simple Steps

1) Walk into your bathroom.

2) Bend down and pick up your scale.

3) Proceed to the nearest trash bin, and chuck it in.

I’m not joking.

Throwing my bathroom scale away was one of the single best things I’ve ever done for my health and my self-esteem, and it’s my honest belief that you should do the same.

How It Started

Growing up, I’d always been some variation of chubby, chunky or “big-boned”—quite possibly the worst euphemism ever invented. Naturally, when I was about 14, I decided I should be 125 pounds for the rest of my life. Totally reasonable. (Not.) And so began 15 years or so of obsession about my weight. I look back at pictures of myself then and there were plenty that show a normal-sized me, but I only remember fixating on the fact that the scale didn’t read 125. Ever. Sickening as it may sound, I let the scale dictate how I felt about myself for a long time.

Then, I found Paleo four years ago, and while I was eating healthier than I ever had, I continued to fixate on the scale. My daily routine was down pat: Wake up, don’t drink anything, use the bathroom (#1 and #2), and only then was it okay to weigh myself. You can only imagine how dismayed I was when my weight actually started going up.

The Tipping Point

And then, I had enough. I realized I felt healthier than I had in years even though I weighed more.

My energy was stable all day long. My moods were nowhere near as volatile. My skin cleared up. I was stronger than ever. I enjoyed eating such nutritious food and for the first time in my life, wasn’t focused on calories. And, I was performing well as an athlete.

What the hell was I so bothered about? So what if I weighed more? I got so fed up with how much time and mental energy I’d wasted on chasing some arbitrary number on the scale, and I was ignoring all the signs of how much healthier I actually was. Would I actually be happier if I got down to that number I set for myself when I was 14? Could I get there and still be as healthy? I decided the answer to both was “no.”

So in 2011, I threw my bathroom scale away. Forever.

And Then, I Gained

When I tossed out my scale, I continued to gain.

I gained a love of self that I’d never had before because for the first time, I wasn’t using my weight to measure my self-worth.

I gained more mental energy to devote to the things that really mattered, like helping other people and being a better friend.

I gained confidence in myself, that I had more to celebrate about my life than achieving a number on a scale. (Because, even if I got to 125, would I be happier or healthier?!)

But, Isn’t Weight an Important Indicator of Health?

Yes and no.

Carrying an excess of body fat and not having much lean muscle mass—generally termed poor body composition—is obviously not ideal for health. Chances are, if you’re reading this and you’re at an unhealthy weight, you’re acutely aware of it, even if you haven’t set foot on a scale. How your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, blood markers of disease and how you feel both physically and mentally are all very powerful indicators of health other than bodyweight.

Said another way, it’s possible to be thin and unhealthy, so bodyweight isn’t the only way to tell if something’s gone wrong.

Perhaps the “ideal” weight you’re pursuing was given to you by someone else—such as a doctor, from a BMI chart or even chosen by you at a time in your life when you weren’t actually ideally healthy. (I wasn’t done with puberty yet when I chose 125 pounds so of course I was going to get bigger and heavier. It sounds so irrational now, looking back.) How productive is it to fixate on weight then, ignoring the other signs?

When I went Paleo, ate more nutritious food and started weight training, I lost fat while increasing muscle mass. Simply put, I got heavier even though I was a bit leaner. Bodyweight can be a deceiving thing.

My Challenge To You

If weighing yourself makes you apprehensive, causes you stress or enables you to fixate or obsess, that psychological stress is subtracting from your health.

Take a long, hard look at whether weighing yourself is adding to or detracting from your quality of life. Your worth as a person is not quantifiable by numbers on a scale: It can’t measure your kindness or how much you enrich the lives of others. It can’t tell how funny, intelligent or talented you are. It can’t tell you how good a person you are. It can’t show how much you are loved.

All the scale dispays is how much your mass is affected by the force we call gravity. End of story.

My challenge to you is to get rid of your scale completely, right now. Focus on other ways to measure your health. (Here’s a fantastic list of what to look for from Whole9.) Be kinder and more accepting of yourself and your unique gifts, because you’re pretty freaking awesome, imperfections and all.

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How To Instantly Love Yourself More | stupideasypaleo.com

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Have you ditched your scale? What happened as a result? Leave a comment below!

Whole30 Week 4 Check-In

Whole30 Week 4 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s time for your Whole30 Week 4 Check-In!

Take a second and put your hand up in the air…virtual high five coming your way from me. You’re now in Week 4 of your Whole30, and the home stretch is near! Twenty-one days of clean-eating and introspection. (You’re remembering to think about what you’re learning about yourself, right?!)

Hang in there and keep doing the good work you’ve been doing, and don’t give into that tiny voice that may be whispering, “Ah, you’ve already done most of it. You could totally quit now!”

Why You Should Squash That Voice

In my mind, giving up on Day 22 because you feel great doesn’t mean you’re a failure…it means you haven’t given yourself maximum opportunity to LEARN NEW HABITS. If you’re sleeping better, have more mental clarity and are a happier person, fantastic. But the better food choices that got you there—particularly if it’s a 180° departure from your past behavior—really need time to sink in. Practicing good habits is key, and even a week longer will make a big difference.

And What About The Scale?…

Hopefully, this whole time, you haven’t been weighing yourself—there are so many other ways to measure how your health has improved. But, from personal experience, I can understand if you’re anxious to jump on and see if the number has budged. Why is the scale so tempting? It’s a number, easy to quantify. But for some of us, our entire self-worth hangs on that three digit number. (That’s one of the reasons I tossed my scale out for good.)

No matter what happens weight-wise, don’t lose sight of all the OTHER good things that have happened in these 30 days. And just so you can start preparing for what to do on Day 31, here is a link from Whole30 on reintroduction. You definitely don’t want to spend your Day 31 in a world of hurt and really lose the chance to learn which foods many not play nice with your insides.

Need some inspiration to finish Week 4 super-strong?

Here are some awesome resources just for that:

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Whole30 Week 4 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

How did Week 3 end up? What’s challenging you as you move into Week 4?

Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing | stupideasypaleo.com

I cannot get enough of the flavors in this Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing!

When I came back from Scotland, all I was craving was super fresh veggies and this salad fits the bill. It’s inspired by one I had at Tender Greens but now that I made my own version I can have it any time without driving to the restaurant—plus, it’s nicer on my wallet and Whole30-friendly. The key to making this super-special is to use the freshest veggies you can find; it makes a huge difference. All quantities are approximate, and if you don’t like an ingredient, certainly leave it out or substitute it for something else. Top it with your protein of choice—grilled steak, pan-fried lemon chicken or shrimp would all be outstanding—for a complete meal.

Ingredients for the Thai Salad

  • 1 head red or green leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup green papaya, julienned (I use this peeler to make it happen)
  • 3 tangerines, peeled and segmented
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashews

Directions for the Thai Salad

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Hint: I kept the mint and basil leaves whole, but you could always chop them.

Ingredients for the Cilantro Lime Dressing

Directions for the Cilantro Lime Dressing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the cilantro leaves are finely chopped and everything is combined.
  2. Use right away or store for 1–2 days, tightly covered in the fridge. Give it a shake before using.

Change It Up

  • This easily doubles or triples to feed a large group.
  • Add a couple pinches of ground ginger to the salad dressing.
  • Check your local Asian food market for green papaya. It’s not sweet like it’s orange-fleshed counterpart.

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Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing | stupideasypaleo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Paleo On A Budget | stupideasypaleo.com

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