You want answers? I’ve got questions!

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.

Hey Britt,

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.  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: 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: 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: 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: 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.  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 (, smoked oysters in 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. 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 ( 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: instead of on bread as a sandwich. Buy some almond meal ( ) 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: and leave a comment! I will choose a winner on August 15th. Good luck!

UPDATE: Practical Paleo: a book review & GIVEAWAY!

I came home about a week ago to find a package on my doorstep. I did not remember ordering anything, so I was curious to get it open. It was super-duper heavy and, when I opened it up, I was stoked to realize that I had just received an advanced copy of the soon-to-be-released book by Diane Sanfilippo, Practical Paleo!

Release date is August 7th!

Diane runs the immensely popular and well-respected blog and podcast, Balanced Bites, and if you have never checked her out, you should. I had responded to her call for bloggers who wanted to review an advance copy but, honestly, I really didn’t think that I would get one since my blog is still just a baby. Baby blog or not though, there it was in all it’s glory. Just for me. I felt so honored. I am so honored! I was so excited that I sat down (I may or may not have neglected my kids for a little while) and read as much of it as I could before I was forced to get up and make dinner. After dinner, I got everyone in bed, did the same with myself and read it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

In the last week, I have been able to read it cover to cover and it is nothing short of a Paleo “bible”. It truly is a one stop shop for all your Paleo needs, from what Paleo is all about, to how your body responds to different types of food, to how to get started and what to cook. There is even a FAQ section that answers questions about things like protein powders (are they ok? I think you already know this answer) and fish oil supplements (this answer might surprise you). It’s like Robb Wolf meets Bill and Hayley of The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate (and it sorta really is because Bill did most of the photography!). It is a wealth of information AND recipes, and it’s just almost equally divided among the two. In order to contain all of this information, the book weighs in at 432 pages. That’s HUGE, folks, and it’s a lot of bang for your buck (especially if you pre-order now). Diane really did think of everything.

There are also these really cool, easy to read and understand, one page (tear-out) guides to things like gluten, sweeteners and good sources of dense carbs. If you are like I am, you might be tempted NOT to pull these out of the book for fear of losing them, but Diane thought of this, too. Fear not, Paleo people! Go ahead…tear them out! Each one just happens to be duplicated throughout the book, so you can never lose them. Genius.


Did you know that your makeup could have gluten in it? I didn’t.

This book also contains lots of in-depth 30 day meal plans for all sorts of ailments, including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes type 1&2, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does she tell you exactly what to eat every day for 30 days, she goes into diet and lifestyle recommendations and what sort of nutritional supplements might help for each particular ailment. I definitely got some new ideas on how I can further help my digestive health. Fermented cod liver oil, anyone?

Now, onto the food.

It was really difficult to decide what to make first. It all looks so mouth-watering.  However, I just happened to have a pork loin thawed (which helped with the decision-making process), so I chose the cumin spiced pork tenderloin.

The photography is gorgeous!

Here is what you need:

1 T cumin

1 T coriander

1 T granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

black pepper to taste

2 pork tenderloins (I had one big one)

2 T bacon fat (or other cooking fat)

2 onions, chopped into large slices

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped ~I am not particularly fond of parsnips, so I subbed in carrots and turnips~

2 fresh garlic cloves, smashed ~ I might have used 6 or 7…I love garlic!~

1 large orange, peeled and segmented

seeds of one pomegranate (approx 1/4 cup, optional)  ~ I omitted these because I didn’t have them~

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, granulated garlic (or powder), salt and black pepper.

Using paper towels, pat the pork tenderloins dry, and apply the spice blend to the meat generously to create a crust. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and melt the bacon fat. Place the pork tenderloins in the skillet, and sear on all sides for approximately 2 minutes per side.

Place the onions, parsnips, garlic, orange segments and pomegranate seeds in a large roasting dish, topped by the pork tenderloins. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork tenderloins reaches 145 degrees F. If you need to continue roasting the vegetables until they are soft, simply remove the pork and set it aside on a cutting board to rest until the vegetables finish roasting for another 10-15 minutes.

Slice the tenderloins on the bias(diagonally) and serve over the vegetables.

So, I mentioned that I subbed in carrots and turnips for the parsnips. When it all came out of the oven, I got the idea to puree the vegetables. There are a couple of reasons I did this. First, the vegetables came out a little dry. It could have been because my meat was so lean, or that I didn’t cook them long enough. Even so, next time I would probably add a little bit of broth or toss them in coconut oil or bacon fat.  Secondly, and most importantly, I happen to love veggie purees. I always end up having leftovers when I make them, and I like to use them in my breakfast scrambles. So, it’s a two for one deal. I ended up squeezing the orange segments (once cooled a little) into a bowl, and then I dumped in all the veggies and what juice there was in the pan and used my handy immersion blender to puree it up. Seasoned with a little sea salt, it was perfect. I served all of this alongside some sautéed spinach. It was so delicious! The meat, though lean, was still very tender and juicy, and the whole house smelled amazing. The flavors were so good! If you love cumin (like I do), you are in business.

I thought about doing one other recipe that stood out to me, but changed my mind. Let me tell you why. Better yet, I will show you.

This, my friends, is what is called Nutty Bacon Bark. Yep, you heard me right. Bacon candy! This recipe stood out immediately, but I knew if I made it, I would eat it. All of it. That would be no bueno. So, here is what I am going to do. I am saving this one for Christmas. I will add it to my treats that I make for friends and then I can give it all away. Ok, well, maybe I will give away MOST of it. Doesn’t it look and sound divine?

So, get over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pre-order your copy of Practical Paleo today. It is destined to become one of the must-haves among Paleo books and, when it comes out, the price will go up and you will be kicking yourself for not taking my advice.  Really, I am just looking out for your best interest.

Oh right, you want a giveaway, huh? Well, I have pre-ordered another copy of this book to giveaway, and it should be here by August 9th or so. How do you win it, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. Leave a comment here telling me why you would love to own this valuable piece of Paleo wisdom. That’s it. Told ya, simple. I will select a winner on August 15th just to give a little leeway.

and forget about that whole 200 likes thing…it’s not really my style.


I’m baaaccckkk!

So, both of my cameras decided to bite the dust this summer. My nice Canon Rebel T1i AND my EVO phone camera! Needless to say, it has been very frustrating to not be able to take pics. I have relied on my friends for vacation photos and made countless meals that have gone undocumented. Well, no more! Yesterday, I figured out a way to get an early upgrade on my cell phone (it cost me a little, but it was worth it!), and now I am back in business. I also got to go back to my beloved iPhone! This makes me a very happy girl! Note: my Canon is still being repaired so the iPhone camera will be it for a while. Still, I fully anticipate things picking up around here. I am also planning a couple of giveaways in the next month or so, so be sure to stay tuned. For those of you who are curious…I have dropped you a little hint below for one of them.


Which one of these is not like the other

So, spread the word.

Book review to follow later today…


Happy hump day everyone!





Summer Lovin’/Livin’

So, it’s been a while, huh? Well, I promise I have a good reason for not being around. I have been living. Yes, living. I know we are all living (breathing), but the kind of living I am doing now has taken me completely by surprise. Let me explain.

I had no idea in February, when I decided to start eating Paleo, that it would alter so many areas of my life. For the better. I did not give any of it much thought past wanting to lose a lot of weight. In fact, that was all I wanted to do. I did not know that I would also lose the desire to sit on the couch every night, the want to sleep in EVERY morning or take a “power nap” every afternoon, the (what I thought was a) need to buy the cheapest food to stretch my dollar…I lost it all. The changes in my energy level, my desire to get up and going in the morning, the need to spend money on good, quality food so that my body and mind can burn the best fuel with the best possible results have been side effects that I did not expect. I felt so passionate about it right away that I thought…blog!  I had always wanted to blog, but never really had a focus. Well, I found the focus and thought this is the best possible outlet for my information and (hopefully) inspiration! Plus, I LOVE to cook and knew that I could bring something to the table in that regard.

What I quickly realized is that sitting in front of the computer tapping out a blog post was kind of contradictory to my new goals in life. To be exact, it was the Saturday of the ice cream post that I realized this. I spent most of the day typing that day. Yes, we made ice cream and yes, I took a moment or two to enjoy it outside with my kids, but I spent the majority of the day indoors…AND it was a gorgeous day outside! Not cool. I berated myself for being inside and not enjoying the day. Another one of the great things about the Paleo lifestyle is that I have a new-found confidence in myself, so berating myself for not getting out and living wasn’t something that I wanted to continue to do.

Since then, I have been making a concerted effort to be “present in the moment”, to unplug and get outside. It has been the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I recently got a new post notification from one of the many Paleo blogs that I follow and this woman was echoing my thoughts exactly! You should check it out because she is way more eloquent than I am. In my opinion, one of the best points she makes is “If we all profess to love this lifestyle, then we should be DOING it, not talking about it.” I am right there with ya, girlfriend.  I will continue to post, periodically, but in the meantime I will be living.


I am lucky enough to have the added benefit of having my summer off! Ten weeks of pure, uninterrupted, free time. I plan to make the most of it, being outside as much as possible and living actively. I have a long list of things I want to do with the kids (and a few without), and I plan to cross off as many as I can! What are your summer plans?



Dinner. Made. Simple.

I have taken up CrossFit and I go on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  I go in the evening because of scheduling, and when I get home the last thing I want is a heavy meal.  Most CF nights, I just have a protein smoothie (which to me is the perfect thing after a workout), but tonight I already had some wild-caught, Texas Gulf shrimp thawed, so I decided to grill ’em up. While they were grilling, I basted them with a super, quick herb butter. This meal took me literally about 15 minutes from grill to table.


All I did was:

Gather a handful of herbs from the garden.  I used thyme and rosemary, but use whatever you have.

Chop the herbs and add them to 4 T melted ghee (or pastured butter).  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Skewer your peeled and deveined shrimp ( I left the tails on) alternating with bell pepper slices (or any other veg you want or have).  I only ran into one tiny problem with this recipe tonight.  I was out of skewers.  So, I had to improvise.  Don’t laugh.  OK.  Never mind.  Laugh.  Laugh away! It’s a bad pic, but you get the idea. Yep, that’s a coat hanger. Luckily, I had cleaned out my closet today (getting rid of a LOT of clothes that are too big!! woo-hoo) and I had some wire coat hangers that I was sending back to the cleaners. Luckily. Otherwise, I might not have had grilled shrimp and you certainly wouldn’t be laughing.  I used to be a girl scout, y’all.  I am not making this up. I swear.

Once skewered on whatever you can find to skewer them on, grill them for about 3-4 min per side, basting a few times.


Remove to a plate, drizzle some of the remaining herb butter and gobble. Really. That’s all.

That’s dinner. made. simple. Y’all.