Weekday packed lunch you’ll actually look forward to eating!


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo diet; after all, one of the first rules of Paleo is to tell everyone you’re Paleo. The premise of this lifestyle is we should be eating the way we were evolutionarily designed to eat: the things you can hunt and gather and forage. Grassfed ruminant meat, pastured pork, free-ranging chickens, wild-caught fish, vegetables, fruit, and most nuts and seeds.  Eliminated are  processed foods with inflammatory properties, such as grains (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.) soy, dairy, and sugar. There are many advantages to the paleo lifestyle, the most attractive of which may be the lack of bloating and fatigue experienced after meals. Our bodies can happily and slowly digest without causing a major crash or the urge to unbuckle our belts.

This begs the question “so, what CAN I eat? No bread? What do I eat for lunch?” The answer: more variety than you are probably brown-bagging now!

In an effort to stay healthy and save money, we pack our pre-made lunches of chicken and salad or same lame sandwich every day only to be so bored silly by Wednedsday, we find ourselves actually dreading the noon hour, or find an excuse to ask Sally out to lunch to review those memos about TPS reports just so we can avoid that mess we have in the break room fridge. No more. Be the envy of the office with these super simple and brag worthy packable and completely Paleo friendly midday feasts.

Monday:  BLT –  Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. What the heck, throw an avocado on it. The lettuce makes a nice wrap for this ensemble, and without all the added stuff, the flavor really comes through. To make: dry a few leaves of romaine lettuce, add tomato slices, crisp bacon, and avocado if you would like. Wrap the lettuce leaves around the yummy fillings and secure with a toothpick. Take as many as you feel you’ll need to be full, and probably an extra to share with Sally. Manic Monday? Not today!

Tuesday: Meatballs and zucchini noodles – There are many ways to do this, including using Aidelle’s pre-cooked meatballs (we buy ours at Costco) or making your own, like these awesome Italian meatballs by Stupid Easy Paleo. You can buy a vegetable spiralizer on Amazon.com inexpensively, and make some amazing “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). This is almost too easy, but SO delicious. The great thing is, you don’t have to cook the zoodles ahead of time. Just take them along in a baggie, and heat them up at work, right along with the meatballs. Boom, protein and veggie.

Wednesday: Pinwheel Sandwich rolls and fruit –  Layer thickly cut, filler-free lunch meat of choice (We like Applegate brand or Boar’s Head), and veggies of choice – I prefer avocado with broccoli or cabbage slaw. Roll them up, and cut them into finger-food sized pinwheels. Add a side of devilled eggs and grapes or other seasonal fruit, and you’re good until dinner. Happy Humpday to you, lunchtime rockstar.

Thursday: Chicken Salad stuffed bell peppers (also works with tuna)  – For this delicious midday treat, we buy a rotisserie chicken and strip it down, add it to the food processor for a few pulses, remove and place in a medium bowl. Add some homemade mayo, like this one, or even better, smash a half an avocado into the chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with 1 tbsp of dill weed. Stir well. Slice the very top off of the bell peppers and remove the middle/seeds. Spoon the chicken salad into the pepper cavity and wrap with plastic wrap. When the bell tolls 12, Slice the pepper into 6 pieces, and use it as the vehicle to deliver the delicousness to your mouth. I feel this pairs nicely with sliced strawberries or grapes. Other options include putting the chicken salad in a bowl and scooping with celery, carrots, or just a fork!

Friday: Leftover kabobs – Take all the leftover meat from dinner this week, slide it on a skewer with some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, bell pepper leftovers, onions, etc. Drizzle it with balsamic and olive oil. Something different for lunch every day? Yes you did.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it all happen:

Head of Romaine Lettuce

1 package Bacon –

Aidell’s Meatballs (or Ingredients for homemade meatballs (2lb grassfed ground beef or pork)

Lunchmeat – Applegate or Boar’s Head are best

1 Rotisserie Chicken

2 Tomatoes

2-4 Avocados

2-3 Zucchini

broccoli or slaw veggies

Eggs

Bell peppers

Onions

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Dill

Rosemary

lemon

Many of these will be used over again for other meals in your week. I try to incorporate some of these veggies into my morning eggs or my evening meals, saving time by pre-chopping and money by making one trip.

Welcome to enjoying your lunch again! Have a great week!

Planning and budgeting: A rant and a meal plan


We have seven children, and as you can imagine feeding a family of nine can get expensive.  I am a nurse – not a stock broker or neurosurgeon a nurse. Our family doesn’t believe in debt, so we save every penny and buy only what we need and can afford in cash. I tell you all of that to tell you this: I feed this family the same way I feed myself. It’s not “mom’s on a diet, this is my food, you eat that garbage”. My passion is teaching children habits that they’ll take with them into the future. It’s about spending a little more now, if needed, to not pay huge healthcare costs later. Our immune systems are better than 95% of all our peers, and our future will less likely be  full of medication and doctors visits. It’ll be full of outdoor playtime because we make great choices now.

I went to the grocery store this weekend, just after a debate on Facebook about the so-called “high cost” of feeding a family healthy food. I walked around the store looking at all the processed junk that I haven’t so much as looked at in years.  I was expecting to have a real fight on my hands. I don’t. One pound of bananas was 54 cents (on sale, normally .69). Frosted Flakes were 3.99 per box.  Free range organic eggs were 3.69 per dozen. (Frosted flakes surges blood sugar, and leaves kids hungry in about an hour. Eggs have healthy protein, fats, and vitamins to fuel the brain, and leaves kids and adults satiated for hours.)  Sweet potatoes were 99 cents each for HUGE potatoes (I fed three of us on ONE tonight.)  Organic Romaine was 3.99 for a pack of 3 stalks, and Organic baby spinach was 4.19 for a giant box.   Conversely, One Digiorno Pizza and cookies in a box (enough to feed 2-3 of most of us) was $8.19. A 12-pack of Coke was on sale for $2.99.  I got a whole Pork Tenderloin (fed 6) for 7.99. I bought 24 distilled waters for 2.99. How much was that 12 pack of coke again?  I made a crock pot full of pulled pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, and fresh picked green beans for $11.89 this evening. There are enough leftovers for the adults of the house to have for lunch tomorrow. That’s 2 meals for $11.89.

I made a salad today for the two of us from 1/2 organic romaine stalk, a handful of spinach, organic tomato, avocado, and olive oil with half a chicken breast. In my estimation, it cost about $ 5.75 for lunch for the two of us. I challenge you to take $5 to your local fast food restaurant and attempt to feed two people. You may get one “value” meal to share, and feel awful for the rest of the day.  I used to feed my family the same “cheap” grocery store food. When I switched to real food, I spent a LOT of money.  I realized after some research I had to simply plan better. So, after making a meal plan (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) for 7 days, I set out for the grocery store. I spent exactly $11 more than the budget we’d set before, that I had been keeping with the sugar-filled, processed, gluten-laden, JUNK. While standing in line, I got up the courage to ask the lady in front of me  for how many people she was buying groceries. She said 2, herself and her husband, and that her grand baby comes over twice a week.  She had the usual: Soda, bread, hamburger, buns, Cereal, yogurt, spaghetti sauce and noodles, mac and cheese, etc.I asked if it was for the whole week, and she said yes, do you think it’s enough? (insert bitten tongue here)…Her total for 2 (and a half) people for the week was $129.67 while my total for a family of 9 was $198.76.  If you’re tracking with me, that’s a difference of $69.09  for 7 additional people.

We  also decided to make a couple of sacrifices in other areas to make up for the extra $11…Because this ‘temple’ and my children are worth it. Every. time. Some cost cutting techniques are: make your own laundry soap. For $19 worth of products from Wal-Mart, I can throw together a laundry soap that lasts us 3 months. Tide or Gain at Costco is $13-18 and only lasts 6 weeks at best. The great thing is, this homemade laundry soap actually works better and is great for people with sensitive skin. We also make our own toothpaste and don’t have cable, but that’s a post for another day.

At the end of the day, the key to saving money is planning. If you already have a meal planned and prepped at home, you’re much less likely to fly through the drive thru or order take out, saving your wallet and your health! After all that, here’s this week’s meal plan and shopping list:

Sunday is meal plan and cook ahead day at our house. For this week’s plan, cook several chicken breasts and use half to make chicken salad and cut up the other half into stir fry pieces. Also, cook a pound of ground beef, ground chicken and sausage for tomorrow’s crock pot chili. This way, you’re all ready to make dinner in a flash all week. When you cook dinner, always cook a little extra so you can have left overs!

Monday –

Breakfast: No-Oat meal

Lunch: Chicken salad on romaine, side of grapes

Dinner: Crockpot chili :

Recipe: one pound ground beef, one pound ground turkey, one pound Italian sausages, browned; half a white onion, 2 tbsp chili powder, tsp paprika, salt and pepper to taste, one bottle of V8 juice. Place in crock pot on low for 6-9 hours.

Tuesday –

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash and bacon

Tip: Bake your bacon while you get ready for work: Heat oven to 400ª , place bacon on a cookie sheet, and in 20-25 minutes, it will be crisp and ready to serve!

Lunch: Left over chili

Dinner: Chicken apple stir fry

Wednesday –

Breakfast: “Garbage omelette”  – Any veggies you have in the fridge sautéed and thrown in with the eggs.

Lunch: Large salad with the leftover chicken from last night’s dinner

Dinner: Burgers topped with fried eggs and grilled zucchini spears

Thursday –

Breakfast: Frozen fruit smoothie and hard-boiled egg

Lunch: leftover burgers and veggies

Dinner: Seared pork and sweet potatoes

Recipe : Preheat oven to 325. Rub both sides of pork with onion, garlic, paprika, chili powder,  salt and pepper. Sear on both sides then place in a baking pan with onions and garlic. Bake for 30. min. For added flavor, add apples to pan.

Friday:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and sausage

Lunch: Leftover pork

Dinner: Crockpot  beef rump roast with onions, carrots, and small potatoes

Saturday –

Brunch: Banana pancakes and sausage!

Dinner: BLT UNwiches – Bacon, lettuce avocado and tomato on romaine

Sunday –

Breakfast: Bacon and fried eggs with apple pear sweet potato hash

DInner: Mongolian beef  made with leftover beef roast and coconut oil in place of sesame oil as recipe suggests.

Groceries:  *

You’ll remember from the last meal planning article to write all ingredients down the the quantities and last detail, then cross off the quantities you already have.

Staples and spices:  These are things you may already have or only need to buy a few times per year

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Ginger

Chili powder

Paprika

Rosemary

Coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)

Flax seed

Raw organic honey

Almond butter

Coconut or arrowroot flour

Mixed nuts: Almonds, pecans, cashews, macadamias

 Meats and cheeses : Amounts will depend on number of people you’re feeding

Chicken

Pork chops

Large rump roast

3 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

1 package Applegate italian sausage

4 lb uncured nitrate free bacon

One package breakfast sausage (no fillers)

1-2 doz eggs

feta cheese

Veggies 

Organic romaine lettuce

organic tomatoes

bushel green onions

seasonal veggies for salads and sides ( broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, etc)

2 large onions (one white one red)

4-6 large sweet potatoes

One head of cauliflower

5 lb bag organic apples

grapes/other seasonal fruit

Frozen organic berries

bunch bananas

Other:

Almond or coconut milk  ( you can make your own)

I encourage you to browse the internet for sales, visit eatwild.com  to find locally sourced ,eats and vegetables, get a Costco membership (even split with a friend), take advantage of Target’s Red Debit card for 5% off, and buy local at farmer’s markets as much as possible.

Again, your first trip for staples may be a bit pricey. However, with some planning  it can be done on a budget. I encourage you to visit your bank statement and add up all the restaurant and drive through/take out trips, protein bars and last-minute shopping trips along with your regular grocery bill. I promise you will be saving money. Bon Apetit!

~CM

 

 

Cavemomma’s rendition of Civilized Caveman’s B.O.A.R.S. chicken


BOARS Chicken (2)

As most of you are aware, we have seven children. There are very rare moments when all seven agree on one thing, especially when it comes to food. So we have embarked on a journey to find at least 10 meals everyone loves to put into the dinner rotation every week. Yeah, I know. But this one actually passed the test. PHEW! It is a quicker, easier, mom-friendly version of Civilized Caveman’s B.O.A.R.S. Chicken.

I first tried this recipe about a year ago, and instantly fell in love. It is such an amazing blend of flavors! B.O.A.R.S. stands for Bacon (you had me at bacon…), Onion, Apple, Rosemary, and Spinach. I know, right? Weird! But trust me when I tell you, this one is a crowd favorite. The only problem I had with it was it took far too much time for a mommy with a full-time job, full-time nursing school, and all those kiddos chomping at the bit around dinner time! By then, they are staaaaaaaaaaarrrrrviiiiinnnnnnnggggg!! 😉

One night I came home and only had a few minutes to whip up some dinner but didn’t want to just bake some plain old chicken and veggies. So, I improvised. I threw some cut up pieces of bacon in the pan, and when it was almost done, took it out. Cut the chicken into strips, and threw it in the hot bacon fat with the lid on, cooking that until it was almost done. Then I threw in the apples, rosemary, dash of lemon juice and onions, and cooked until slightly soft.  I saved the spinach for last because it takes only a few seconds to wilt.  While the chicken was cooking, I cut up some cauliflower, pulsed it through the food processor a couple of times until it was ricey-looking, then threw it in a bowl, covered with a paper towel and cooked for 5 minutes.  Amazeballs chicken over cauli rice in under 20 minutes.  Boom. Dinner.

I will try in my crazy schedule to get at least one recipe each week that is super fast and kid friendly up for all of the insanely busy parents (or people who want healthy food, but ‘aint got time for that’….Let me know what you think!

Man, it’s good to be back!

~CM

Book Review: “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo


The Paleo book to beat all Paleo books.

Wow!! It’s been quite a month at our cave. When I received the preview copy of this book I was in awe of its beauty, and promptly sat down to try to read it. But I have kids. So, I read some of it and set it aside.  Then, as it so often does, life happened and  weeks slipped by. I took the book with me to work every day, read parts, and made some of the recipes, but I just couldn’t find the right timing or the right words to write this review. So, here it is, 2 days til release, and I am finally “finished” reading the book and can review it. Finished in quotations because, as you will see when you get your copy, you don’t ever finish this book. You read it over and over, reference it every time you have a question, and use the back half to meal plan and make your recipes.

Sunday afternoons, as you may recall, are our meal planning days. This past week, we sat down with Practical Paleo as a family and oooh’d and ahhhh’d over all the awesome recipes and pictures. The kids were having trouble narrowing down what they wanted to try in the first week. When we got to the bacon brownies, the world stopped, and KaLynn looked up at me with her wide brown eyes and said “Birthday Cake. THIS is what we’re doing for my birthday cake.”. So, we narrowed it down to 7 dinner recipes and they were all delicious and EVERYONE liked them. First. Time. Ever.

We all read through some of the highlighted lessons in the book together, which was an awesome way for me to teach them more about nutrition without boring them to tears. Hey, even I get bored to tears if someone is lecturing me. They giggled through the “guide to: your poop!” section, but they did learn a lot and even talked about that one time they had that.

Trying to come up with my favorite parts of this book is impossible. There is nothing I DON’T love about it. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s funny. It keeps you engaged by all the awesome information but it is even perfect for those of us with ADD that just want to skip to the good parts – Diane really takes the time to break down the important parts in little “cliffs notes” at the end of each chapter.

One of the best parts about Diane’s knowledge is that she recognizes Paleo as a framework, not one specific plan for every person. There are 30 day meal plans for EVERY DIFFERENT need: Athletic Performance, Fat loss, heart health, neurological health, MS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, even Cancer recovery to name a few. Every meal plan comes with a color coded key for ingredients, whether or not the recipe contains nuts, eggs, nightshades or FODMAPS. She seriously thought of every single possible thing. She’s a freaking genius. All I keep thinking is WOW, this must have taken her FOREVER, there is nothing left out.  She teaches us how to cut things properly for heaven’s sake. Really.

The recipes in this book are so gourmet, diverse, and delicious, that when I was looking through the pictures the first time I kept thinking, “oh, great, more fancy-schmancy recipes I’ll never get around to making”, but as I began to read through the actual ingredients and instructions, they were SO simple! This woman is speaking my language! Who, in this time, has hours to cook gourmet meals? Not this cavemomma. Coolest thing ever? The tear-out guides at the end. No lugging a huge book the grocery store with you or writing out extensive lists. Just tear em out, keep them in your car, and BAM! Preparedness.

From a totally different perspective, I work in a doctor’s office and am a full-time nursing student. I have taken ‘nutrition’ classes (very SAD what they’re teaching our future healthcare workers) and I’ve listened to patients tell me all about their Dr. Oz diets and their laundry list of ailments. Fortunately, I have a great doc with an open mind and he’s allowed me to teach him and my patients the truth about real food and I have already begun to use this book along with others as a reference tool. I am a big fan of a few books, but this one stuns me with its ease-of-use and knowledge accessibility. I’m pretty sure I’ve sold several copies right in our office just by showing it off. I have had a few patients come back already to tell me they’ve eliminated grains, legumes, processed food and most dairy from their lives and are shocked at how much better they feel. Diane, you have no idea how many lives you will reach with this book as one by one people grown to love this book as their go-to food bible. Thank you for that.

If you haven’t preordered your copy, I encourage you to do so now. Amazon has an awesome price on this priceless gem. It officially releases August 7th, and I’ve already ordered several  for Christmas presents, birthday gifts, and a few to hand out in our office. You will be SO happy you did!!

In honor of reaching 3,000 fans this week, and the release of my new favorite book, I will be giving one copy away! “Like” Cavemomma on Facebook, follow me on twitter @thecavemomma  and leave a comment below telling me why you want this book, and SHARE THIS GIVEAWAY/REVIEW on your page – on the honor system. More than one comment will not give you extra entries.I’ll announce the winner next Sunday night. Thank you so much for taking the time to be my fan 🙂 I appreciate you!

My CaveKid Introduction


 You all know my mother, CaveMomma, right? Well she’s going to be in school and at work a lot more so I’m going to help her run Cavemomma on Facebook and cavemomma.com. She’ll still be here but not as much, so I hope you all like me. 🙂

 To start, my name is KaLynn, or CaveKid, you can call me either one and I’ll answer. I’m 13 years young and the oldest of four. I have been listening to my mom talk about food and health for the past year and a half and found it very interesting. My mom says I’m creative and a great writer, I hope she’s right because I’ll be writing a lot. A few things I’ll be blogging about are influences, body image, peer pressure, and how to eat right in a place when you think there is no good food there. 

 I’m constantly around teens that don’t eat right and they think they are. I feel bad because they don’t get how much it effects their body, maybe not now, but when they’re older. It’s true that there is more influence to eat terribly than to try illegal substances. I’ll talk more about that too. A big part of my life is body image and I’m still trying to get over it, which I am slowly doing but it’s hard. I can write forever on that. I also have a lot of friends that have unhealthy foods that they eat at their house, and somehow I still manage to get through healthy. 

 I would love to answer any questions you guys have for me. I’m here to help. If your kids have questions, I’ll answer those. I love blog suggestions and feedback. Don’t be a ghost reader! I’m sorry this was so short, I promise they’ll be longer in the future. 

Image ImageImage

ImageImageImage

Picture 1:Me  |  Picture 2: Me holding my friend  |  Picture 3: Me hugging my friend

Picture 4: My eyeball  |  Picture 5: Me in front with friend  |  Picture 6: Me and a llama

Guide to planning ahead: Plan to succeed at health.


Preparation is key 😉

We’ve all heard the expression: “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”.  I can tell you in my life, this rings SO true. We are all busy these days…running around like chickens without heads trying to cram as much into one day as we can. This kind of lifestyle is stressful, and can lead us to believe there’s just no time to eat right, exercise, or remove stress.

There are a lot of people who will tell you to “remove stress from your life”. Although I agree that we should try to minimize our activities and learn to say NO to things from time to time, I also live in reality. My reality at present is there is nothing I can cut, and I assume it’s much the same for most people, especially moms.  Keeping that in mind, I want to help you create a bit of extra time and lessen your anxiety by helping you figure out how to plan ahead a little. I promise you this will seem like a bit of work at first, but it gets easier if you persist, and it will relieve so much pressure and give you peace of mind that no matter what comes up, you can still eat right and get in some exercise. That’s one less thing hanging around the back of your mind, and one less drive through (and guilt) trip.

Starting out:  Carve out one hour on a Sunday or other day off. Make a cup of coffee or tea, grab a pad of paper and a pen, fire up that laptop, and get ready.(Don’t tell me you don’t have an hour. Turn the TV off, get off YouTwitFace, and get started. 🙂  Go through your pantry and food cabinets, and either a.) throw out/donate all that boxed, processed garbage, or b.)set it all aside on ONE shelf  or one cabinet, not at eye level, not at kid level. Then, do the same for the fridge. Place all the Meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy oils at eye level and in front so they’re the first thing you will see. If you’re eating fresh, healthy foods, you shouldn’t have too much in there, as they will expire week to week.

Sunday Morning Planning

Now that you’re all organized, take an inventory of the healthy foods you DO have.  Sit down with your cup of whatever and make a list of things you could make with what you have . For example, in my freezer, I have 2 lb grassfed beef, 5 chicken breasts, and a pork loin. In my fridge, I have a bit of romaine left, some bacon, zucchini, broccoli, a red bell pepper, a can of coconut milk, and leftover taco meat.  In my pantry, I have olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, apples, and some kiwi, and an onion.

Right away, I know I have the option to make: Meatballs.- I have the meat, tomato sauce, spices and zucchini. I need spaghetti squash for noodles. SO, on my second paper, labeled “meal plan”, I write Meatballs over spaghetti sauce. On the back of that paper, “grocery list”, I write down SPAGHETTI SQUASH.  I also have the stuff to make B.O.A.R.S chicken – so I write that on the meal plan, and on the grocery list, I write spinach , and check to see that I have rosemary. I don’t. On the list it goes.  The pork loin goes on the list for Wednesday, I’ll rub that down with spices and throw it in the crock pot and serve it with Sweet potatoes and broccoli. Sweet potatoes are huge, so I’ll put 3 sweet taters on my grocery list for 6 of us. I’ll use the leftover taco meat on romaine for a taco salad lunch at work Monday. Tuesday I’ll take leftover meatballs. Getting the hang of it? Not rocket science, I know, but most people feel overwhelmed by the idea of meal planning and I am trying to make it very simple for you.  I’m out of meat now, so I put Salmon and spinach on the menu for Thursday. Spinach is already on my list, so I add Wild Caught salmon to the grocery page. Friday night, I think we’ll do a Meatsa, so 2lb ground beef, mushrooms, (I have tomato sauce and bacon) will go on the grocery list. See, easy-peasy. For lunches, the kids roll up Boars head or Applegate lunch meat, take bell pepper slices, carrots, apples, and cheese slices for lunch. Double check for all these things and add to the grocery list as needed. For breakfast, we have eggs, smoothies, or leftovers. Eggs, bacon, bananas, all go on the list. There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Now, on the grocery list, decide where the best place to get your groceries will be, and write a letter next to the item. Example: I shop at Super Target for some things, the farmer’s market for fruits/veggies if I can, and Costco for some of the bigger items. I write the letter of the store where I can get the best deal. My Target now carries grassfed ground beef, so that’s a huge score for me. I also have the Target rewards debit card, so I save 5% when I shop there. Plus, they have a great organic section.  Costco carries Kerrygold Cheese (grass fed) and butter for a LOT less than most places. Plus, I get the non-food essentials like TP there. 🙂

SO, gather the homewreckers, throw em in the car, and head off to teach them what it looks like to buy healthy, preplanned food. In the next blog, we will talk about prepping for the week so you don’t get caught off guard, and we’ll later discuss where to fit in exercise. If you have questions, PLEASE feel free to ask, here or on the Facebook page. Much love! ~Cavemomma

Super Awesome but borderline non Paleo Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies.


CAUTION: THESE COOKIES ARE NOT FOR DAILY, WEEKLY, OR EVEN MONTHLY CONSUMPTION. SPECIAL OCCASION TREAT ONLY. THESE COOKIES ARE RIDICULOUSLY ADDICTIVE. PLEASE BAKE RESPONSIBLY.

I felt the need to put a caution label on these babies for a reason. They are definitely not for the metabolically deranged, or the weak of heart. They are gooooooooood.

Here’s the scoop:

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a glass mixing bowl:

1 c. Almond butter

2 eggs

1/4 c unsweetened baking cocoa

1 tbsp vanilla

3 tbsp maple syrup or organic cane sugar. You can leave this out if you want to.

1/8 c full fat coconut milk, no additives

1/4 c 75% or higher chocolate, broken into pieces.

Stir until well blended. This will be your pre-cookie workout.

Place on a cookie sheet in small balls, smooshing each one down with a fork in a cross pattern.

Cook at 350° for 10 minutes. Exactly.

Take out, let cool for 10 minutes. Eat ONE.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Maple Coconut Ice cream treat


 

I get a hankerin for some Ice Cream every once in a blue moon, and I REFUSE to buy an ice cream maker ( I don’t want to make it too often) so I whipped this up one day and it was pretty delish.  Brace yourselves, this is a tough one.

cut up and freeze 2 ripe bananas. If you don’t feel like waiting, just put them in the freezer for a bit.

Toast some unsweetened coconut flakes in the oven on 400 – if you want . I didn’t toast this batch, just used it raw. Keep an eye so they don’t burn.

One can full fat coconut milk. I use Golden Star because it doesn’t have added Guar gum or other nonsense. Put it in the fridge, let it harden up. Open the can and pour off the liquid, then put the creamy stuff in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp pure organic maple syrup.

With a hand mixer, mix the coconut milk, maple syrup, and cold bananas, and coconut on low until creamy. Add Pecans. Throw it in the freezer for a bit until it becomes ice-creamy.

That’s it! Next up, My ridiculously easy chocolate chocolate cookies. I’m gonna get fat tonight.

 

 


CAVE Momma!

If you’re a Paleo Parent, I know from experience you’ve gone through this. People who don’t yet understand the Paleo lifestyle (or maybe even health in general) telling you that your kids “need a break” and you need to just “let the poor kid have some cake, geeezzz” or my all time overused favorite – “EVERYTHING is ok in moderation!!”  Really? Would you give your children poison, drugs, or alcohol – even in moderation? We now know that exposure to gluten just once in a while starts the inflammation and healing cycle all over again.

When an alcoholic gets sober, everyone rallies around them and tells them how proud they are. “Great job on your life change! We’re with you all the way, so proud!” Then, understanding the person needs the support, his/her good friends will not drink around the recovering friend. They create an environment to support the life change. They…

View original post 469 more words

Book Review – “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig


Best. Book. Ever.

I decided to “try Paleo”  about a year and a half ago at the constant suggestion of one of my Facebook friends. I’ve never met her, but the passion with which she spoke inspired me to give it a look. I read the book she suggested, Mark Sisson’s “The Primal Blueprint” and I was hooked. I started out like I’d just received Jesus, proselytizing to every person I could. My poor FB friends, workmates, family, etc.  have been putting up with this craziness for over a year, but I guess they expect my nuttiness by now.

About 6-7 months into my journey, I started reading other books. I read Robb Wolf”s “The Paleo Solution”, and being the Nutrition nerd, my passion for real food and Paleo grew stronger. I suggested the books to my whole family. I must have nagged them enough, because my Paleo family now includes : Mom, Dad, 3 of 4 brothers and their families, 2 cousins, and several friends. EVERYONE has gained health, lost weight, and feels amazing. Nothing could make me happier.

Around the same time I started this journey, I also decided to go back to school and finish my nursing degree. Needless to say, my nutrition classes were pretty much a joke, and although I lied enough on tests to get through it with an A, I became feverish in my quest for real nutrition knowledge. Enter Dallas and Melissa of the Whole 30.  I read about their Whole30 challenge, and after a rough Christmas season, began January 1 2012. You can see how that went, right here. When I saw they had a new book coming out, I HAD to pre-order it immediately. I have to admit, I was pretty jealous of all the Paleo bloggers getting their advance copies. I just sat on my hands and waited……Then it came. My mom asked if she could borrow it when I finished, and I was more than happy to say yes. Until…. I read the whole thing in 2 days. (That’s a pretty amazing feat given my ridiculously busy life.) As I began to read through it again, highlighting furiously, I realized I was going to have to break my promise. There’s no way in hell I’m giving this book up.  I need it to be able to answer questions and educate people. I’m not smart enough to remember all this stuff myself.  Sorry mom. Get your own.

I took it to work at the Dr.’s office with me.  My doc (boss) has already always believed in the high protein, no sugar theory, but after reading through Wheat Belly, and now ISWF, and talking with me about Paleo (pretty much non stop for the past 8 months), he has realized how messed up our nutrition education is. He is now teaching our patients real food nutrition. We have had 4 or 5 patients order this book right from their phones in the office. Why? Because it’s more than “Paleo” or “Primal”. It is more than a “diet program”.  “It Starts With Food” is a reference tool, a book that teaches and explains things in a way that even non-nerds can get it. It is funny, down to earth, and readable. It is RELEVANT. People know processed food isn’t good for them. This book gives people the tools they need to successfully transition to eating foods that will help them THRIVE instead of just survive. The other day, a lady called the office to thank me for recommending ISWF because in just 2 weeks, she was seeing HUGE changes in her son and herself. Score.

There are so many great things about this book, but I think my very favorite is the tough-love approach. Excuses bug me. I think Dallas and Melissa are Gentle yet firm in the way they explain the changes that need to be made for successful health. It’s the prodding some of us really need to take that first step toward optimal health and away from sickness, lethargy, and misery.

They also address something not many other books do: our relationship with food. They don’t go on and on about how you just need more willpower blah blah blah. They acknowledge that food plays an important role in our memories, our culture, and the way we feel. I love that they don’t ignore that fact.  I have a hard time with disapproval of others, and would rather avoid conflict, and they touch upon how to deal with friends and family who are “less than supportive” of your health goals.  That was HUGE for me.  They also address that god-forsaken scale. They missed NOTHING.

Thank you for writing this book, Mr. and Mrs. Hartwig. It has changed my life,my relationship with food,  and the lives of those around me.  Go get your copy. You’ll be thanking them too.

Are we making our children sick and crazy?


“natural and artificial colors and flavors”

I was walking through the grocery store the other day with my youngest daughter. We walked through the middle aisle to get to the back of the store, and she saw the “Kool-aide Man” on the side of a pack of  ‘juice’ boxes. She stopped, pointed, and said, “mommy, why can’t I have purple juice boxes like my friend?”  I asked if she didn’t like the water bottle anymore. She said, “no, I like water, but I would like to have purple juice.”  “It is bad for your body, Kris” was my reply. “Where would you find purple in nature?”  She looked at me thoughtfully for a few seconds and said “Grapes?”  I agreed, then we read the side of the box together. “Did you hear mommy say grapes?” She said she did not, and asked me what HFCS is. I explained the best I could, but we agreed that those things we can barely pronounce are not things we want to put into our bodies. “That had lots of greedience, too mom. We only eat things with one or two greedience”. This satisfied her, and we moved on. My mind, of course had just begun racing. I asked her to show me what else her friends brought in their lunchboxes, and she was more than happy to lead me up and down the aisles pointing and explaining. My stomach started turning, my eyes welled up with tears.  As I was reading the boxes, I could totally see why parents would feed this stuff to their kids. It’s easy, cheap, and hey, it says “made with real fruit” or “lower sugar” or “”made with whole grain! Low fat! 10 essential vitamins and minerals!”  One example of this craptastic marketing is General Mills Fruit Rollups (TM). Check out the ingredients on these babies. More like “corn syrup food coloring chemical sh*tstorm Rollups”. UGH.

This set into motion my asking the kids to give me a full report of what their friends ate and drank day to day.  I gathered information from as many people as I could, then began doing nutrition information research. I also asked questions about their grades, relationships, skin, hair, and behavior.  The results are staggering. One mom, a patient of mine, said that she had “no idea that cereal was bad for you! I feed that to them for breakfast and snacks!”  She is diabetic. Her children are headed there too. It seems to be an endless cycle.

The RDA of Carbohydrates in one day for a child is <130 grams. Children should have less than 6 tsp of sugar (14-28 grams/day)

Here’s the typical day for a Standard American Diet eating child:

CHILD ONE:

Breakfast: Pop-tarts (Note: there are 2 in each package. Nutrition info is for 1.) Assuming this child only eats one, He’s already consumed 37 g of carbs (28% of the daily recommended)  and 15 grams of sugar (2.5 times his daily intake. at 7 am.), and only 2 grams of muscle-building protein.  His pancreas works hard to release enough insulin to get the glucose under control, and by 9 am, CRASH. He’s grouchy, shaky, hungry and ready for a snack. Good thing it’s snack time!

Snack: Granola Bars! Super healthy whole grain snack! 29 carbs, another 12 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. SWEET. Another round of insulin release, sugar high, and another crash…right at LUNCHTIME!

Lunch: Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich, Apple, Fruit  Gushers, chips, and a Capri-Sun.   Assuming it’s whole wheat bread (That’s an argument for a later post), it totals approximately 122 g carbs, 63 g sugars, and 13 g protein. HOLY BLOOD SUGAR, BATMAN.  Have you been doing your arithmetic? So far, We’re at 188 g carbs, 90 g sugars, and a whopping 19 grams of protein. How many artificial colors and dyes were in those gushers? EEEEK. You could not pay me enough to be a teacher. It’s not the kid’s fault. He is just eating what is given to him, and reacting the way his body is telling him to based on crazy ups and downs and metabolic processes. The child doesn’t want to be a trouble maker, but he just cannot sit still. He’s pissy, but doesn’t know why. Another Crash.  Must be..

Afternoon Snacktime! : Goldfish crackers. Well, the good news is these are pretty low in sugar and have a moderate amount of protein.  They do, however, pack in the carbohydrates at 20 g, and are full of processed flours and commercial (read: inflammatory) oils. Holy moly, that’s a whole other blog. We haven’t even sniffed dinner, and we are over 200 g carbohydrate and 92 g sugar for the day.

Dinner time comes, and tonight they’re having Spaghetti, garlic bread, and a side salad. Woo hoo, a vegetable. Iceberg lettuce (zero nutritional value), cucumber (same), some carrots, and commercial salad dressing (we’ll go with Italian). 1 cup noodles, half cup Sauce, 2 tbsp dressing. Can of soda.. Carbohydrate count for dinner:  113grams. 54 g sugar, and 13 grams of protein. If there was meat added to the sauce, add in 20 grams of protein. At least we’re getting that in.  Assuming we don’t eat dessert, snacks, etc for the rest of the night, he has eaten 321 grams of carbohydrates (skyrocketing his blood sugar in huge waves), 146 grams of sugar. ONE HUNDRED FORTY SIX. I’ll wait while you scroll back to the top to remember how many a child is supposed to have. This is almost 25 times the amount this child was supposed to have for the day, the equivalent of 34 teaspoons of sugar.

The amount of sugar kids are getting every day. 34 teaspoons.

Too extreme?  I wish it were. This is data from personal sources. Let’s go with Example 2. Breakfast is a bowl of cereal (Honey nut gluten free Chex) with Lowfat milk and a glass of 100% orange juice. Hell, let’s go all kinds of health-nut crazy and say Soy milk. (For the record, Soy milk is HORRIBLE FOR YOU..but I digress…)  For snack, sally brings a Nutrigrain Bar. Lunch is a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat, strawberry yogurt, an apple, and a fruit rollup with organic chocolate milk. Afternoon snack is a cheese and peanut butter cracker packet and a 100% juice box. Dinner is Meatloaf, corn, mashed potatoes, a roll, and 2% milk. Total carbohydrates: 304.  Sugars: 132 Protein: 46.  Still no real vegetables, rarely any plain water, all processed food. Tons of peaks and valleys in the blood sugar/insulin department.

We’re not talking about kids getting fat, although childhood obesity is out of control. We are talking about kids getting a disease that used to be referred to as adult-onset diabetes. Now, it’s “type 2″ because kids are being diagnosed younger and younger. According to the American Diabetes Association,” Type 2 diabetes has been described as a new epidemic in the American pediatric population that has been coincident with the overall 33% increase in diabetes incidence and prevalence seen during the past decade.” (http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/20/4/217.full)

The kids in these examples are the ones struggling with school work, emotional issues, skin problems, and some are on medications already to control their behavior or health. yikes.

I am not for one moment suggesting parents would intentionally harm their children for the sake of convenience. We have been beaten and badgered by ads, brightly colored packaging, and misinformation for years. Kids want things that look awesome  and that cartoon characters say is good for them. Once they are hooked on the sugar, it is a downward spiral. No parent wants to fight with their child at every meal and snack time. It’s not fun to be the bad guy. I’m telling you right now: they are worth it. They WILL be OK. In fact, they’ll be SO MUCH BETTER. Sugar overdose causes behavior issues, ADD/ADHD, tooth decay, insomnia, diabetes, and daytime sluggishness. There are studies that prove artificial colors can be a contributing factor to ADHD. Real, nutrient dense foods do not have these side effects.

“low fat! whole grain!” *facepalm*

Here’s what a Cavekid eats on the daily. I give them options, but all clean, healthy options.

Breakfast: Egg muffins, Bacon,  or coconut milk/spinach/banana smoothie

Breakfast!

Snack: Apple

Lunch: Turkey lunchmeat (Boar’s head or applegate with no fillers or nitrates) wrapped around a piece of cheese, organic baby carrots, celery with almond butter, and a fruit (usually grapes or banana). Sometimes Gluten free Kettle chips.

Snack: macadamias, almonds, seeds

Dinner: Seared pork, salad, sweet potato. or Meatballs over spaghetti squash.

Dessert: Not often. Sometimes a bowl of fruit, or some homemade cave-treat.

My kids drink water. all day. every day. I haven’t given them fruit juices or sodas, and they don’t ever ask.

Totals: 128-135 g carbs, 36-40 g sugar (all from whole fruits/veg), and 48-60 g protein. They also get adequate amounts of fat for brain growth as I cook in grassfed butter or organic coconut oil.

KaLynn loves her shrimp on the barbie!

I used to be the “healthy” example. EEEK! Now, I spend less, and definitely have less environmental impact by not buying all the packaging and processed nonsense. My kids VERY RARELY get sick.  It’s been over a year since we have purchased bread, milk, cereal, pasta or other packaged stuff, and I can tell you truly we don’t miss it.  If I can feed my family of 6 this way, so can you. I promise. It can be a tough transition, but if you stick to your guns, it becomes easier, almost second nature.  One awesome resource for this is Everyday Paleo.  Sarah is a mom who threw her whole family on the Paleo wagon and hasn’t looked back. There are so many other resources, too: Paleo Parents for advice on kids nutrition – their book, “Eat like a dinosaur” has saved my life many times. Fastpaleo. com and CivilizedCavemanCooking.com for some amazing and easy recipes, and even here, on this blog, you might just find something useful 🙂

Good luck, I’m here if you need me. ~Cavemomma

Delish Banana Bread Treat


Big ol scoop of Kerrygold butter. YUMMY

I love to bake.

This has been the hardest part of my Paleo/healthy food journey. Not gonna lie, I still tend to over do it with the treats. Gluten-free and paleo-friendly or not, moderation is key. Yeah, good luck with that on this one.

Here’s what you’ll need for this amazing bread:

8×8 cake pan

coconut oil  – put a big scoop in the bottom of the pan, put it in the oven for the last few minutes of preheating. This will evenly coat the pan when you pour in the batter.

  • 4 ripe bananas – pretty ripe.
  • 3 eggs (cage free organic, local if you can)
  • 1 c organic golden flaxseed flour (or almond flour if you don’t have flax. I really prefer the flax.)
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp Vanilla (I always go big on the vanilla. You may want to use less. I’m thinking not.)
  • 1/4 c  Organic pure maple syrup (optional)
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Kerrygold grass-fed butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Place a spoonful of coconut oil in the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and let melt.  In a mixing bowl, smash the bananas until they are smooth. Add eggs, maple syrup and vanilla and mix on low or stir vigorously. Add the flax flour, coconut flour, baking powder and soda. throw in a dash of salt. Lightly mix the dry ingredients with a fork, then beat on low until well blended. The mixture will be thick. Pour mixture into the pan with the melted coconut oil and bake for 45 minutes, checking at 35 minutes by inserting a fork. Bread is done when fork comes out clean. Sprinkle a bunch of cinnamon and nutmeg on the bread as desired. You can add nuts to this if you want, I am not a fan of nuts in bread. When the bread has cooled a bit, cut into squares. Serve warm with a dollop of Kerrygold butter on top and some steaming hot black coffee. You’re welcome.

Love ya!! ~Cavemomma