One of my cousins, Britt, messaged me with some questions late last night (she was up reading her copy of Practical Paleo!) and recently, I have had several other friends message me on Facebook with similar questions. I wrote Britt a lengthy response, but then I got to thinking…I bet this is something everyone could benefit from hearing. So, I decided to post my response to Britt here for all of you to read. I think she has very common beginner questions.
A little background…Britt is a busy, working mom with two littles and a husband. Her and her husband are getting ready to try to incorporate more of the Paleo lifestyle into their lives. They are also starting CrossFit, and I couldn’t be more excited for them both and their children! Way to go, girl!
Here is Britt’s message to me:
Omg! I got my book today! I need a whole day uninterrupted to my self to go through all this! So much awesome information… And I am NOT a reader…. About 40 pages and I am asleep, no matter what it is… So I have just finished going through as much as I can without falling asleep with a book on my face… Looking forward to more tomorrow! Also need to research around my area where to get more “local, natural whole foods” we have a local farm about 5 miles from us that produces a lot of stuff but adjusting to eating better stuff (not from the Walmart shelves all the time) is going to take some planning, research and time for us to do it right in a way I can keep up with and not feel overwhelmed by… I cannot wait to get through more of the book! And I have already marked quite a few recipes and cannot wait to try them! I know that I am going to have some questions when it comes to ideas for lunches that are simple and not always leftovers, and quick snacks for the kids etc… So I am curious to know how you handle that kind of stuff…. Do y’all still eat bread at all? What about your cheese and milk? What do you drink/eat and where do you find it? Or do you just use normal milk we are used to getting at the grocery store….?
Here is my response to her. Enjoy.
Don’t freak out. (That goes for you fellow blog reader!) This is long. I hope I don’t overwhelm you, but I don’t know how else to respond. 🙂
I am glad you are enjoying the book so far! It is a lot of information, and it will change your life if you let it. Every time someone asks, how do you do it? Isn’t it more expensive? Where do you find grass-fed, all organic produce and meats locally???…I am always reminded of this article. http://balancedbites.com/2012/06/paleo-perfectionism.html. It just happens to be by the same lady that wrote the book you are reading. It’s all about balance and making the changes you and your family are able to make mentally, physically and financially. I also read a quote the other day that basically said the same kind of thing… if you do nothing except cut out grains and still eat conventional raised meats, you are already doing yourself a world of good. Grains are the enemy. Focus on that and all the rest will follow. I am the first to admit, though, that the kids are a different story. 😦 Mina is pretty set in her ways. I think you have it a little better with littles that can still be molded, but it is still hard.
To try to answer your questions:
Do I still eat bread? Hardly ever. We are talking 3 times in the last 6 months. When I did eat bread, I ate a gluten-free one, Udi’s, and it is was when I was out hiking/biking or at the beach and I had to pack a lunch. I have found a few things that I like to substitute for bread, such as Pure Wraps (order online here: http://improveat.com/whatoffer.php) I LOVE these if I need a wrap. They are expensive, but I don’t eat them but maybe once every couple of weeks or so, for me, they are worth it. I also still get my pizza fix once or twice a month! 🙂 I found a company that makes a delicious, frozen pizza that is as close to Paleo as I will get in a processed form. The only ingredients are tapioca starch, mozzarella cheese, milk, whole eggs, tomato paste (vine-ripened fresh tomatos and naturally derived citric acid), parmesan cheese, expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, cheddar cheese and water. I can only find them at Whole Foods and they are expensive (11.99 each), but 2 pizzas will feed all 4 of us with leftovers. I usually can only eat 2 slices, and I am full. Here is a link: http://www.againstthegraingourmet.com/ I have not tried their other products, but I am sure they are great. You can’t order online though. 😦 I usually buy several pizzas and keep them stocked in my freezer. My trips to Whole Foods are for certain things, and the closest one is about 30 minutes from me, so I don’t go every week. Maybe I will put a list together of the “must haves” when I go. 🙂 ALL of the meat at Whole Foods is nitrate/nitrite free, so I usually buy pepperoni to add to the pizza.
What about milk/cheese? I no longer drink a glass of milk. I tried it once after my Whole 30 challenge (which I totally encourage you to do!! link here: http://whole9life.com/2012/01/whole-30-v2012/) and my body was not happy with me. I do, however, still enjoy heavy cream in my coffee and cheese with little or no upset that I have noticed. I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but I will add it to scrambled eggs (maybe a tablespoon or two) and, of course, on my pizza. 🙂 I also really enjoy blue cheese or gorgonzola on my salads. The kids still drink milk and eat cheese & yogurt (greek style). Mina would KILL me if I didn’t buy milk anymore! I make sure to buy organic, whole milk. The fat soluble vitamins in milk (A, D, E & K) cannot be utilized/absorbed without fat. I read where someone wrote that skim milk is just white colored, sugar-water. Truth. Ultimately, if you can find a farm locally that produces raw milk for sale, this is your best option. Pasteurization kills the good stuff in milk. I have yet to do this. Buy organic if you can but know, a lot of it still comes from giant operations. You can find out where your milk comes from here: http://whereismymilkfrom.com/ This is so cool, and I have done it several times.
What do I drink/eat? The standard answer is I eat meats, vegetables, a little fruit and few nuts and seeds, but I am pretty sure you have heard that before and still don’t really understand what that looks like. 🙂 Let me give you a look at a pretty typical day. I wake up around 8 am (it is summertime still!), and I have a cup of coffee with heavy cream and no sweetener. I am usually not hungry until around 10 or 11. Like right now, I am still just sipping my coffee. Not hungry in the slightest, yet. It’s 9:35 am. When I do get hungry, I will make breakfast. Summer breakfast looks a little different from school day breakfast because I have time to make bacon, cook my eggs a certain way, etc. Typically (ie: during school), I make a scramble. This consists of: 2 eggs (local and from pastured chickens when I can get them), a protein of some sort, usually breakfast sausage that I have browned up on Sunday, but it could be ham or leftover steak, pork chop, etc. and whatever veggies I can find. Kale, spinach, chopped sweet potato and broccoli stems are some of my favorites. I cook this in pastured butter, which you can find at Kroger. I buy Organic Valley. http://www.organicvalley.coop/products/butter/pasture/ It is in the “natural” food section usually in a green wrapper. Last spring, I found it on clearance for $2.00 and bought all that they had so I still have lots in my freezer. It keeps really well. 🙂 Use coconut oil if you can’t find the butter. This will satisfy me until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. My lunch is the one meal I have trouble with. I don’t plan well and usually just end up finding something in the fridge in the way of leftovers. However, some of the things I always have on hand are canned tuna (http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Planet-Albacore-Minimal-Mercury/dp/B001E5E3J4), smoked oysters in olive oil (http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Prince-Natural-Oysters-3-Ounce/dp/B004CD4PM0/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1344696668&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=smoked+oysters+olive+oil), or stuff for a quick salad. A typical salad would be spinach, chicken, strawberries (maybe 2, sliced), a few blueberries, some blue cheese (1-2 tablespoons), a few chopped pecans and a strawberry vinaigrette. Another fave salad is spinach or greens of choice, baked chicken (my mom makes the BEST!), red onions, tomato, avocado and a homemade raw honey & mustard vinaigrette. Dressing is another tricky situation. It is hard to find one without added sugar. My thought has always been…if I am eating 2 cups of spinach…then the benefits of that spinach outweigh the little bit of added sugar in the dressing. Making a dressing is not near as hard as it sounds. Google “Paleo salad dressing” and you will find several options. Put all of your ingredients in a jar and shake. No whisking required! You can just use what you need and pop the jar in the fridge for keeping until your next salad. Dinner is a protein and a couple of veggies. Tonight, we are having 50/50 burgers (to which I am going to add some liver but shhh, don’t tell the kids or Jason!) with all the toppings and baked sweet potato fries. I also utilize my crock pot like crazy, especially during the school year! Nom Nom Paleo has quite a few great slow cooker recipes in her recipe index. www.nomnompaleo.com You have a great collection of recipes already in Practical Paleo. Enjoy running through them.
As for what I drink: Coffee (sometimes tea) in the AM and then water only the rest of the day. I am still known to have a beer or two (Michelob Ultra) every now and then. 🙂 Mostly, I drink water. I drink lots of water. I am literally never without my water bottle.
This quote from Michelle Tam, aka Nom Nom Paleo, sums it up pretty good!
“Robb Wolf recently tweeted that his main eating “rule” is to avoid gluten and not sweat the inconsequential amounts of sugar in stuff like ham and sausage. I love that he’s so sane and practical when it comes to nutrition advice. Plus, stressing about minute amounts of non-Paleo ingredients can be counterproductive if it elevates your cortisol, right? As Dallas and Melissa say: Context matters.” -Nom Nom Paleo
Dallas and Melissa are the power couple that run Whole 9 and authors of the Whole 30 challenge. They also just came out with a great new book called It Starts With Food. I highly suggest reading this, too!
But, but…what about the kids??? I know, I know. The kids. Those little monsters. Love them as we do!
I buy bread specifically for the kids. Udi’s gluten-free bread and buns (http://udisglutenfree.com/) is my favorite. Their website says you can find them in Kroger, but I never have. I buy mine at Whole Foods. I stock up and pop most of it in the freezer. It makes a fantastic grilled cheese! The bread is expensive, so I try to use it sparingly. Can you say ham and cheese roll ups? It’s all about getting them used to eating things in a different way. Like tuna salad with Paleo crackers (recipe here: http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2011/09/paleo-herb-crackers/) instead of on bread as a sandwich. Buy some almond meal (http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/blanchedalmondflour5lb.aspx ) and make these crackers once. They are super easy, and you will be hooked. I keep these mainly for the kids and the hubs. I don’t eat them very often. Garrett still runs screaming when I have vegetables on his plate. When he can see a chunk of veg in his food, he will tell me, “Mom, you know I don’t like tomatoes!”. Nevermind that he is eating spaghetti (hello, TOMATO sauce) and what he thinks is a chunk of tomato is actually red bell pepper. 🙂 I have to hide a lot of things. Speaking of spaghetti, I buy rice pasta (Whole Foods) for the kids. It’s gluten-free. My main focus with them is trying to stay away from gluten. It is hard! Especially when you are out and about. I am not perfect, but I try. Mina will pretty much eat what I put in front of her now. It took a while. She is beginning to see (and accept) that this is how we are going to eat now and if she is hungry, she better eat what is there. This is how it will go for the littles, too. They are not going to starve themselves. Put only good choices in front of them consistently, and they will (eventually) eat only good food. They’re kinda cool like that. 🙂
Try making lunch look fun. I buy compartmentalized plastic containers and make it like a bento box. Google “kids bento box lunch” and look under images for ideas. I don’t go all crazy with the detail (who has time?), but you will get the idea pretty quick. I know a little boy who would LOVE this lunch! Stuff it with a protein source (turkey or ham and cheese roll ups, tuna salad, chicken), a fruit, some yogurt, and water or milk to drink. I do give them treats in their lunch, but they are just that…treats. They come only once or twice a week. For some great ideas for treats for the kids, I love the blog where the crackers came from, Multiply Delicious! She is one of my favorites! Look under her Paleo tab and you will see lots of yummy sweet treats that you can make the kids.
Also, be sure to refer to the tear out guide in Practical Paleo labeled ‘guide to: Food Quality’. She really breaks it down very well with Best, Better, Good and Baseline options.
Just remember, context matters! 2 cups of spinach + 2 T sugar added dressing does not = failure. Remove the grains. I suggest you do it quick, like ripping off a band-aid. It might hurt a little (or maybe a lot), but it won’t hurt as long as it will if you drag it out. Two weeks into a Whole 30 challenge, you will be a new person!
Love you cuz and keep me posted!
Looking back over this post I noticed a couple of things. First, I use a lot of smile faces when I email. Must try to correct this. Second, Paleo is a very individual lifestyle. What works for one, may not work for another. We are all different. Thank goodness because the world would be pretty boring if we weren’t. So, experiment. Play around and find out what works for you and your family. For mine, bringing back Friday night pizza night was worth it. We bond over it. Silly, but true. The pizza’s not 100% perfectly paleo, but am I going to let that stop me from sitting down with my family and enjoying? Nope. I’m not. Keep your focus on cutting out the grains, buy organic when you can, and stop worrying. Stress increases cortisol and that’s not good. We are only here on earth for a little while, and we need to enjoy life while we have it. Do the best you can in any given moment and if you make a bad choice, make a better one next time. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s just not worth it!
Do you have your copy of Practical Paleo, yet? If not, and you would like to enter to win one, go here: https://primalbelly.com/2012/07/26/practical-paleo-a-book-review/ and leave a comment! I will choose a winner on August 15th. Good luck!