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.

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Cavemomma’s Momma…The amazing story.


“Lynch mom”…that’s what all my high school friends called her, and we all loved her for so many reasons, not the least of which was: Her super famous chocolate chip cookies :O)
Mom made the best cookies ever. When we were sad, or celebrating, or excited, or getting back from a trip, or…well, you get it. She made a lot of cookies. She learned from a young age that food is the centerpiece of everything.”Chocolate chip cookies could heal the world”. She learned it from another amazing woman and awesome cook – my sweet gramma Carolyn, her mom.
In 1992, that amazing woman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and my mom and aunts took care of her during her illness. She only asked one thing of my mom: to quit smoking before she died. My mom and dad quit immediately. (We will NOT go into how that went :)) That was April. In September, My sweet gramma was gone, and my mother’s heart was shattered. During my grandmother’s illness and in the year following her death, my mom did what she knew to do. She ate the pain away. In one short year, my mom went from 117 lb too-skinny pounds to close to 200. She was 34 years old, and had 4 kids still at home. Mom never showed her sadness to us, she just dove headfirst into making sure we had everything we needed…taking me back and forth to cheerleading practice, games, and competitions. Running my 2 little brothers everywhere for baseball and hockey. Getting my older brother ready for college. Worrying like crazy about my oldest brother in the Navy, and taking care of the house while my dad worked a million hours a week. She was a fantastic mom, but she completely stopped taking care of the one thing that was taking care of us…herself.
She tried to lose weight. I can remember several times asking if I could have something from the fridge and her telling me it was her “special food”. She would diet, lose some weight, then gain it right back. We’ve all been there…She was most successful on the Atkins diet (I know, shocker, right?), she never lost more than 20 pounds, and again she would gain it all right back. In talking to her just the other night, she said maybe she was still holding onto it from when gramma died. She told me in her whole 53 years, nothing has ever broken her heart like that and maybe she was just afraid to let it go.
Last March, my grandfather (her dad) passed away at age 89 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. (My mom had moved to Florida in 2000 to take care of him, before he finally went to live with my incredible uncle Mark until his death) Then, in June, my dad’s brother died suddenly of liver cancer at the young age of 59. Off to Michigan again, to be with the family and help my grandfather take care of my Dad’s mom (and only mom my mom had left). Gramma had been diagnosed with Lung cancer the previous Christmas. Finally, in August, just 2 months after Uncle Dan’s death, Gramma lost her battle with lung cancer. It was an extremely tough year for all of us, but my mom especially. She travelled back and forth from Florida to Michigan and Indiana to help out and attend funerals and she ended up completely exhausted. Finally, in November, she and my father made a decision that broke MY heart: they moved to Southern California. It was a decision that was made purely from grief and desperation, BUT that move turned out to be a very positive thing for them. It was enough of a change to jolt her out of her self-destruction. Plus, her friends Dawn and Bruce live there, and Dawn is a SUPER awesome trainer/nutritionist. She was going to get healthy. Little did I know, I was going to help!
I became fully primal/paleo in January 2011, and after feeling the best I ever had, I challenged my mom to try it out. In April, she did the 30 day challenge with me and lost an immediate 10 pounds. Oh yes. She was hooked, and did “pretty well” for the next couple of months, losing a few pounds …Then, after seeing her results and the results of some of my other family members, my dad jumped in head first. Now they were a team – and let me tell you about my parents when they “team up” – They are UNSTOPPABLE. Since June 1, dad has lost over 20 pounds, and now Lynchmom has lost 27 pounds. Her leg pain from a boating injury that has been aggravating her for 7 years is GONE. She can work out again. My favorite thing is when she text messages me with pics of food and says “Oh, yeah, I’m SO deprived…I’m gonna go struggle through this bacon wrapped goodness” or “ANOTHER POUND WOO HOO!!”
The best part is that she’s found her strength, and found herself again. I am so proud of my mom, and my dad for being the amazing supportive man that he is. They are an inspiration to all 5 of their children, children in law, and 12 grandchildren.
SO, there goes your “I’m just too old or too injured” excuse. 🙂

Coconut Almond Crunch “Cereal”


I don’t know about you, but I get a major cereal craving every now and then. Not at breakfast, usually, but sometime in the afternoon. I used to eat Kashi and Mini Wheats by the boatload back in the day, but when I changed over to the Paleo lifestyle, I simply wrote it off. I don’t really think about it much anymore, but today I was HUNGRY and only had about 5 minutes. So, I grabbed a bowl. I threw in:

  • A handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • A handful of slivered almonds
  • A few (like 5) Pecans
  • A few (like 15) raisins  (you could use any dried fruit here, or none.)
  • coconut milk

Yep, that’s it. I ate it with a spoon and I’ll tell you this – it was one of the best 5 minutes I have had recently. Although I wouldn’t exactly call this breakfast, I’d call it awesomeness on a spoon. If you get a hankerin’ for some cereal, this is the super duper easy peasy way to get it. I encourage mixing it up with your faves.  oooooh ….If you leave off the milk you could throw this in a baggie and have trail mix. SWEET. ~ Cavemomma

What on earth is all this Paleo/Primal talk anyway?


I woke up this morning with a thought: MMMMMMM Time for some hot black coffee, Sunday bacon and a garbage omelette. Oh, yes. Then another thought: I don’t remember ever being this excited to get out of bed for cold cereal, or worse – being out of milk so there’s either a banana or nothing for brekkie. Yikes. I lived that life. For YEARS. *shudder* 

That is what kills me about this lifestyle. So many are stuck on the idea that it’s “just a fad diet” and my favorite “I couldn’t do that. It’s so RESTRICTIVE”. Um, really? Sounds to me like it’s the other way around. Before Paleo, I was stuck eating what the SAD (Standard American Diet) calls ‘breakfast food’. Now, I realize I need some protein and some fat every morning (or early afternoon, if I’m fasting), and I can even eat leftovers. Hey, if someone can call leftover cold pizza breakfast, I can certainly heat up some leftover CROCKPOT PULLED PORK or even CURRY CHICKEN. Omelettes are almost unlimited..hence the name garbage omelete..I whip up some eggs, and chop in some red bell pepper, throw in spinach, snip in some green onion, broccoli, shredded zucchini, nitrate/nitrite free uncured bacon and/or sausage….anything I have lying around is fair game. I cook my free range organic eggs in..wait for it…bacon grease. (GASP!) And heck, that’s just breakfast!  How many times are we stuck eating the same ho-hum crap for lunch that we’re not really even enjoying? I literally eat something different every. single.day. 

That’s not even the best part. Paleo is so much MORE than just the fantastic food I’ve come to love. It’s sleeping well – in a very dark, cool room ALL NIGHT LONG. It’s calm of mind and soul. It’s playing outside with the kids or the dogs. It’s feeling full of tons of energy and mental focus, which, let’s face it..is so needed with our full schedules. It’s not stressing and freaking out if I can’t get to the gym. It’s challenging myself to lift heavy because I can. Truly, it’s about getting back to the basics.  The best part of Paleo, though, is the COMMUNITY.

There are so many amazing people who have discovered the same thing I have. That this isn’t just about being “on a diet”. It’s about fueling our bodies to function the way they were meant to – the way we evolved to function. And because we all ‘get it’, and we’ve all had medical, emotional, skin, stomach, sleep, energy and other problems that we’ve cured with this new way of life, and because we’re all so much happier, we SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE each other. It’s so easy to get caught up in the yuck of the world, but anytime we need reinforcement, the community is there. There are recovering alcoholics, food addicts, Type 2 diabetics, moms, women wanting to become moms facing infertility…the list goes on. Everyone is researching and trying to find REAL answers for each other. We swap recipes, stories, encouraging words, and blogs. We lift each other’s pages up in the community and encourage newbies to visit the other people’s pages. It’s not a competition, it’s a common goal: get as many people to find their way to the health and happiness we have and get past all the lies that have been shoved down our throats that are obviously NOT working and make more people fat,sick, and dead every year. We all want what’s best for each other, and for our families and friends. None of us get anything out of it except knowing that we’re changing the way people look at nutrition.  I LOVE MY PALEO FAMILY.

I hope you’ll spend some time researching the Paleo/Primal way of life, and share your story with me. I’d love to share it with everyone else. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your healthy, happy life. 🙂  Love~ Cavemomma

The proof is in the….Bacon


Before I ever read Robb Wolf’s amazing book “The Paleo Solution”, I was offering thirty day challenges for all my Facebook friends. The idea was to get a group of people who wanted to get healthy to be accountable to me for 30 days and see how much weight/how many inches we could lose, and how much better we could feel by doing it together. People were getting amazing results. Turns out accountability is the best diet ever, especially when paired with the Paleo lifestyle. This past month, I had a pretty special group of people, and it even included the amazing BIG TIM.  The last day was today, and as we do every week, we had a check-in. Here’s what I heard from one of them- my ‘twin’ cousin Megan. We are exactly 6 weeks apart in age, and we grew up very close.  While we live 1400 miles apart, she’ll always be the sis  I never had. I’m super proud of her, and so happy for her family!!
 
Megan, in her own words:
Wow, it’s been 30 days already? Where to start? Well, I think for some people, they need to hit a “rock bottom” type of position before they realize that it’s not something that they “have” to do, but something that they “need” to do.What it’s NOT: It’s not a “get slim quick diet”. It’s not something you do for 30 days then quit. It’s not magical (but it sure is close). Oh and it’s NOT DIFFICULT.

What it IS: It is a lifestyle.

I think it was Everyday Paleo (not sure though) who had an article about people complaining that “this wasn’t working for them” and I really liked her reply. Write down everything you put into your mouth. Take a look at it. You’ll be surprised.

I summed it up like this. And this analogy seems to give the men a little perspective. Think of your body and what you put in it like this: Sell everything you have. Go out and buy a $350,000 Lexus LFA. Fill the gas tank up with vegetable oil. Throw in a bag of sugar while you’re at it. Take it for its initial spin around the block. GASP, WHEEZE, SPUTTER…yea, then see what happens. Any guesses? You’d destroy the vehicle. It’d be useless. Worthless. Done. Dead. And you’d be left with nothing cause you sold everything to afford the car. Well, that’s the SAME THING you’re doing to your body. Once you destroy everything you have, you can’t get it back. Period.

I’m happy to say since starting this I’m down 23 pounds. (In ONE month!!) I have no idea about inches cause when I started this my goal was not for myself. However, I have dropped at least 2 sizes. I used to have insomnia something FIERCE. Now, I sleep great (kinda like before I had kids). My stress levels have dropped immensely. I used to snack on mini wheats (cause I thought they were healthy). Now I know better (I no longer have IBS either, in case you all wanted to know that). I could go on and on.

For me, the weight loss was a great side effect, so I call it. And so many ppl focus on JUST that which is why they fall for the “get slim quick” diets and pills. Skinny does not equal healthy. Did you all hear me? SKINNY DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY! One of my best friends is a toothpick. Everyone is so envious, “OMG you’re so skinny I hate you…” What they don’t know is that she dropped 80 pounds like a bad habit due to acid reflux and several other digestive issues. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. Her Mom thought she was bulimic. She literally lived on her bathroom floor. She still has the issues to this day (although under control with medication) and I keep trying to tell her that even though she thinks she eats healthy, she’s not and needs to change. But I’m not one to preach.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a pill popper. I hate taking medicine. I’d rather NOT have to take medicine for the rest of my life if I could help it. So, for me, feeling as great as I do after 30 days is the BEST part of all of this and I don’t wanna look back. I don’t think to myself, “oh that one small batch of vinegar fair fries, cotton candy, and an elephant ear isn’t gonna effect the scales THAT much…” What I think is, “I know how great I feel right now and if I eat that, I’ll wanna lie down and let the elephants trample me.” Kinda like going out and drinking way too much…the next day you feel like crap.

So that was the sum of my 30 days 😀:D And it won’t end here that’s for sure. I hope it doesn’t end for all of you either.

 
I hope this inspires you if you’re on the fence about trying Paleo for thirty days.  You should know, it will change your life…and after 30 days, you’ll probably be hooked. 🙂
Paleo Love, ~ Cavemomma

 

School is back..what to pack for all-day brainpower for kiddos (and big kids :))


All summer, we have complete control (for the most part) over what our kids eat, because they are at home and we only buy what we need and eat before we leave or when we get home. Once school starts, all bets are off. If you’re new to this, and you’re not sure what to pack for the monkeys (or your grown-up self), here are some of the things that my kids take. Note: I fill the fridge/pantry with options. They are to pack what they want, I approve when they’re finished. We don’t have garbage food in our house, so we’re pretty safe, although there have been some all-fruit lunches I’ve had to veto. Make sure they’re getting some protein, some fat, and a veggie/fruit. ANYTHING is better than a PB&J on processed bread or -God forbid- SCHOOL LUNCH.

Options available at our cave:

  • Boar’s head lunchmeat (or any brand that is gluten-free and filler-free). My kids like turkey, chicken, and ham. They then roll up whatever they want inside. Lay lunchmeat flat, throw in slaw, cheese (if your family eats dairy), veggies, etc. I also make “ham rollups” like gramma used to make, but instead of cream cheese, I used smashed avocado and a green onion. YUM.
  • Leftover ‘chicken nuggets’…If you need a recipe, check out my fried chicken recipe (here)  and just use cubed chicken instead of whole breasts.
  • Chicken Salad, Egg salad or tuna salad  wraps – I use romaine lettuce or iceberg “wraps/cups, or just serve it in a tupperware bowl with a fork. Chicken salad recipe HERE.
  • Hard Boiled eggs or Devilled eggs. Instead of mayo, we use mashed avocado or just a little coconut oil, plus some dill weed. It’s delish.
  • Egg cupcakes: These we mostly use for grab-n-go breakfast, but I’ll throw a couple in the lunch cooler for myself to nom on if I get hungry (rare). I got the egg cupcake recipe from www.everydaypaleo.com
  • Red pepper strips. My 4 year old tried these once and got mega-hooked. Red bell peppers are sweet, and the kids love ’em. They’re also yummy inside a rollup.
  • Grapes, Apple slices, berry mixed fruit salad, etc. Don’t forget to invest in tupperware/ziplock type containers. They’re cheap, reusable, and perfect for stacking inside a stay-cool lunchbox. Now they even have the separated all in one plates.
  • Ants on a log: Celery stalks, fill with nut butter of your choice (not peanut) and set raisins on top like ants on a log 😉 Kids love this one.
  • Homemade applesauce with cinnamon – HERE.
  • Baby organic carrots, almonds, walnuts, and homemade trail mixes are all great options. Make sure you use no sugar added dried fruit for any trail mix.
  • On occasion, I use Larabars. The kids love them, and they’re whole-food made. A little carb heavy for mom, but I’ll even grab one if I’m having a craving or didn’t pre-plan.
  • Organic, gluten free beef jerky
  • Butternut squash with coconut oil (or pasture butter) and cinnamon. This is absolutely my favorite!! Kids LOVE this.
  • FINALLY, my new favorite: leftover cuddly coconut pancakes  smothered with almond butter and sliced berries (Viola! PB&J ‘sandwich’!!)

I hope this gives you plenty of options. Remember: they don’t need a 7 course meal. Feed them a good, protein/fat heavy breakfast for good brain power, and they won’t even really be hungry til lunch. I put enough food in for lunch and their snack. Plus, this year I bought the lunchboxes with attached BPA free waterbottles, so there’s no extra sugary drink worries.  Any other ideas you have are always welcome, we parents all need to stick together and help each other out 🙂  Love ~ Cavemomma

A “Dear John” letter from Cavemomma…


Dear “I can’t”,

We have had a long and difficult relationship, and we’ve been through a lot together. Arguments, fits, and hatred for each other. I believe it is time to draw the line in the sand and just move on. Enough is enough. I know you are holding me back and I am tired of it. You have come between me and my goals too many times, and it doesn’t seem to matter to you what the goal is; working out, eating nutritious food, studying to get good grades, getting up at 5am to get things done, etc. You’re always in my way. NO MORE.

This relationship is nothing but a LIE anyway. It turns out, when I choose not to listen to you, I end up feeling a thousand times better. I accomplish feats of greatness and I believe in myself. I am stronger. I know you’re going to try to come back time and again, that’s just your nature. You should know that I have something new in my life. I’ve left you behind for “I CAN and I WILL.” These are your enemies, I know, but they lift me up and give me courage while all you do is hold me down. ~

So, “I can’t”, this is goodbye.  Because I can. and I WILL.

~Cavemomma

Sarah Jane Fried Chicken


 

I got the idea for this super quick and easy-peasy meal from my super awesome “suster in law”. Thanks, Sarah!!

This is so easy and quick, it can be prepared in just a few minutes any night of the week, and the leftovers can be used for soup, omelettes, and other chicken recipes the rest of the week. Nothing better than already cooked, super juicy chicken lying around easy meals later!!

You’ll need:

  • Several pieces of chicken. I used boneless breasts because I love white meat. (How many pcs will depend on how many you’re feeding)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Coconut, almond, walnut, or macadamia flour. Don’t have any? Throw a couple handfuls of nuts into a food processor and chop til grainy.
  • Sea salt, garlic powder, other spices you might like, and pepper
  • Coconut oil (you can use others, but coconut is best as it has a high smoke point and tastes better than anything.

Instructions: (if you even call it that…so easy!)

  • Beat the eggs in one bowl, put your ‘flour’ in another bowl
  • Heat a large frying pan to medium, put a glob (official meaure) of coconut oil in the pan and melt.
  • Coat the chicken pieces in egg then flour mixture and set in the pan
  • Cover the pan (helps the meat cook through) for about10 minutes, turn, and re-cover the pan for about 10 minutes
  • Cut the center of the thickest piece to check that it is cooked through
  • Serve with a ginormous side of veggies or a salad

Easy, right?? My kids LOVED this. They like a lot of the stuff I make, but this seemed to be an exceptional WIN. yay!

CaveMomma Banana Pannycakes :)


Why Pannycakes? Cuz that’s what we called ’em when we were kids. Oh, who am I kidding? My brothers and I still call them that. Pannycakes are awesome, and just because we are paleo doesn’t mean we don’t get a hankering for some every once in a while.

You’ll need a hot skillet – Cast iron is best- with some coconut oil for the pan.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2/3 c. of coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (Agave, organic raw honey)
  • 1/2 c. coconut flour
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Mash the bananas in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs with a hand mixer til frothy. Add in the sweetener, oil, and lemon juice and mix til blended. Add the coconut flour and coconut milk, blend again until smooth, then add the banana mash and finish mixing. The mix should be thick.

Heat Skillet until hot and add coconut oil. Pour batter in small silver-dollar size cakes (keeping them small makes it easier to flip them). Wait until the edges are crispy, then flip only once. Serve with Berries and honey, or almond butter and honey, or any Paleo-friendly topping you desire. I ate mine plain they were so soft and tasty!

*was very loosely based on www.civilizedcavemancooking.com (Caveman) cuddly coconut pancakes. You should definitely visit that site along with www.fastpaleo.com  for other versions of these recipes.

A little preparation goes a long way!


So, how do I feed a family of 6 a fully clean, paleo diet while working full-time and going to school? With a little planning, preparation, and of course, help from my cavekids 🙂 They love to be in the kitchen with me, and it’s my time to teach them to cook, talk about why certain food is healthy for our bodies, and just spend time hanging out with my favorite people.  Throughout the week, I see recipes here or there on sites like fastpaleo.com, everydaypaleo.com, civilizedcavemancooking.com, and many others (all on the “likes” section of my Facebook Cavemomma page) and I bookmark them – usually because I’m really busy going between job sites, so I’ll get them together later and print them.

Sunday morning, while we’re cleaning the house,  I take note of what we already have in the freezer, pantry, and fridge, and begin making a meal plan from the recipes I came across mixed with some favorites of ours. After I have about 7-9 meals, I begin my grocery list, always including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I do NOT want to have to stop at the store every night for this or that – it’s time-consuming and expensive. We spend the day Sunday at the pool, beach, park, or just hanging out around the cave.  Sunday evening, I go to 2-3 stores, depending on the week and the needs. I also stop by the local farmer’s market first for good local produce. I know this sounds awful, but if you have a plan, it truly isn’t. I make lists by store – Costco for the bulk items (mostly our business supplies, paper products, and bulk wild caught fish and chicken), then to whole foods for grassfed beef, local organic eggs and nitrate free uncured bacon, coconut milk, lunchmeat, and some on-sale organics, then SuperTarget for less expensive organics veggies and staples if need be. Sometimes I don’t need to go to Costco, and sometimes I only go to Target because it is closest and they do have a pretty great organic section where I am. Total trip: usually 2-3 hours. I can hear it now, in the worst whiny, nasal voice “but I haaaaaatttteee shooooopppiiiinnnnngggg” Yes, pumpkin, I know. Me too. But if you take the kids you can make it another fun learning experience – and mine keep me laughing and having a ball the whole time. Hey, I never said “a little prep is super easy!” I just said necessary. K? Good.

After we get home, we wash, cut, dry, and put away the veggies, bake the chicken, and start making some of the recipes we can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze. I bake and store spaghetti squash, make some meatballs, some sauces, etc. I post the meal plan on the fridge so there’s no decision-making or mind-changing. In my house, we live by  “you get what you get, and don’t throw a fit”. Besides, we decided on these meals together, making it a bit easier. Today, I cooked 6 chicken breasts, a spaghetti squash, a big batch of meatballs, and a bunch of egg cupcakes. We can grab the eggs on the way out the door in the am, have turkey rollups, salads, and grapes for lunch, and I’ll plug in the meatball-filled crockpot before we leave and set it for 12 hours. Now, when I get home all tired, dirty and sweaty from work (sexy, right?), I will pull that spaghetti squash out, throw it in the micro, and pour the meatballs and sauce over. BAM! Dinner is done in less than 5. Maybe, just maybe,  I’ll have time for a shower before the kids baths, dishwasher, and washing machine use all the hot water. Score! (Plus, if I have school that night, my classmates prefer I have time to wash up;))

All that prep gets 6 people through about Wednesday. Perfect, because Wednesday nights are youth group nights for the kids, so I get 2 hours to myself to get a good solid workout and prep for Thursday and Friday without the “help”. Saturday we eat small meals through the day and we prepare a big dinnner together or go out to eat. We have been solidly Paleo/Primal for about 2 months (We weaned into this over about 6 months), and I can tell you it gets easier every week. I notice that we eat SO many different meals now, keeping it fun and tasty instead of the same tacos, spaghetti, and meatloaf week after week. We try at least 2 new things every week and we’re having fun with it. This lifestyle has become part of us. Tradition. We’re reaping the benefits in health, learning, AND time together. Yay!!  I hope this helps you and your family! Soon, it is my intention to help families meal plan and make grocery lists..so, if you need help, hit me up! It’s why I’m here!

A day in the life of a Cavemomma


Very related to the “I can’t afford to eat healthy” and “I don’t have time to do this” is the “you just don’t understand MY life” excuse. One may be correct in saying I don’t live in their home or deal with their situation, but I have a pretty full existence. I would like to share with you a page from my book, if you’re interested.

Monday morning, 5:30 am. My very calming, gentle alarm rouses me from dream state. Then, my husband’s alarm puts the local lightning alert system to shame. Ok, let’s go.  Off to the kitchen, pour two cups of black coffee (which I pre-set the night before), and begin the lunch-making process. Turkey wraps made with nitrate free no-filler Boars Head turkey, shredded carrots, and hard cheese. Tupperware containers full of grapes, celery with almond butter, an apple, or whatever other Paleo-friendly treasures my children have picked out the previous evening. A water bottle in the side pockets, and 4 lunches are ready to go. Then, I pack the big people cooler full of pre-made chicken salad, organic romaine lettuce leaves, tons of water bottles, some apples and 2 large salads and olive oil on the side. Time for the herd to rise.

5:45 am: I drop off David’s coffee and gently remind him it’s time to rock and roll, which is met with “but I’m sleeeepy!” Yeah, me too kiddo. By the time I get to the girls’ room, my oldest daughter is already dressed and in the kitchen helping make breakfast. I dress the 4 year old before she wakes up to avoid a wardrobe conflict and remind the 8 year old to make her bed. As I walk into my son’s room, he grunts “yeah, mom, I’m up”. “Looks like it” I reply (this is an every morning ritual.) I throw the eggs on the table and remind the kids to rinse the dishes when they’re done and double check their rooms to make sure the beds are made and rooms are clear of dirty jammies and such.

6:00 am: I pour the remaining coffee into the to-go thermos and head toward the shower, which is currently taken by the sleepyhead. Good thing he makes the bed every morning. So, I run in and start a load of laundry and put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher and throw a roast, baby carrots, and onions in the crockpot . Gotta fly through my shower so we can be out the door by 6:40. 

I drop the 3 big kids off at their dad’s house where they’ll wait for the bus, then the little one across the street at her daycare. Off to clean our first couple retail stores before they open, usually 2 before 8:30. Then we run off to a construction project or our residential regulars, depending on the day. This usually includes 2-4 houses, ranging in size from 1500-5500 square feet. We work scrubbing, dusting, cleaning windows, pressure washing, and mopping all day til 3 or 5, grabbing bits of this and that out of the cooler for lunch and snacks between jobs. It’s HOT here in South Florida, so we drink gallons of water throughout the day. When we’re all finished and completely sweaty and gross, we run around collecting the kids and head home for dinner – right after we stop at Target because “I have a project for geography..due TOMORROW”. Awesome. We’re still working on that planning thing.

 Lunch boxes collected on the counter, everyone grabs a plate and we sit down for 20-30 minutes for dinner. (Unless, of course, I have class, then I grab a handful of whatever, maybe get a quick shower,  and run out the door yelling instructions they’ve already heard a million times.) After dinner, the table is cleared, leftovers stored, kitchen cleaned, dishwasher started, coffee pre-made, and lunches set up for tomorrow. The three older kiddos get their showers and set out their uniforms for the next day and I bathe the 4-year-old. Tonight, all three girls need their hair braided for tomorrow. Oh, wait, no, the 8-year-old wants a blow dry and straighten, the other two want braids. Oh, and can you paint my nails, mommy? Of course. Right after I switch the laundry. Hey Zac, dryer’s done. Fold it and put it away 🙂 KaLynn, while I dry Alyssa’s hair, I need you to run the vacuum around the table and get whatever that is on your bedroom floor while you’re at it.  At around 8pm, I read the littlest ones a book, the rooms are cleaned up, and we get ready for bed. This is where I’ll get to the gym some nights, for about 45 minutes.  Lights out for the littles at 9:15.  Then I sit down to check my email, Facebook, and blog before catching up our business and personal books, send invoices and estimates, and reconcile accounts. David is busy checking on our stocks, making sure the fluids in the cars and work van are good, doing our business scheduling, returning business calls and emails, and if I’m at school, doing everything else. Thank God for him.

Now, there are days that vary. Some days, we start by 6 am and are finished by 1, giving me time to do the books and get a workout in there before getting the kids. Some days, there is no working out at all, because I have class, Zac has hockey, the girls have gymnastics, there’s a band concert, or I have to study for an exam, But there is very rarely a day we don’t eat to fuel our bodies correctly. Could you imagine keeping up with 6 people if I weren’t properly fueled? I have tried it, and I don’t recommend it.  We try to be in bed by 10 most nights, because I recognize the value of sleep. Trust me, NO ONE wants to deal with me if I have fewer than 7 hours. Our room is completely dark and cool, and we rest well. This is vital to a healthy life. I repeat: VITAL.

So, what’s my point? My point is, I have 4 kids. I own a business, go to school, have kids in extracurricular activities, work out, and still manage to feed my family 95% Paleo nutrition. I see my family as a REASON, instead of an excuse. I do not watch TV, because I feel it’s a mindless waste of precious time. I like to spend time with my family at the dinner table, on the weekends at the pool or park, or the beach.

So, That’s a day in the life. In my next post, I’ll talk about how I prepare for the week ahead of time, making this whole process a little easier. Thanks for stopping by. I encourage you to subscribe, comment, and keep me on my toes. ~Cavemomma