Category Archives: primal

Simple Sunday.

It’s been quite a while since my last post. The transition from summer to school is still in progress and it’s left little time or energy on my part to blog. It’s so easy to fall out of the habit of blogging but I don’t want to do that completely. Hopefully as I continue to adjust to this new routine, I’ll be back a bit more. Until then, dinner on a Sunday night.

Caramelized onions (in apple cider vinegar and maple syrup) with a sliced chicken apple sausage and a side of sauerkraut. Simple but still delicious. After a day of homework, it definitely hit the spot.

It’s become so crisp and cool around here lately. I look forward to the changing of flavors that autumn introduces. In fact, soup is on the menu for this week. I’ve been a fiend for soup lately, especially since I had cold last week.

What are your favorite fall foods?

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Filed under dinner, primal, yum

Breakfast Bowl.

The only thing I knew about my breakfast yesterday was that it would start with this:

A cup of Chameleon Cold-Brew diluted with water and cream. I picked up this jar after reading about Chameleon Coffee in Bon Appetit. Although it’s a little expensive at $6.99 a jar, it’s also delicious. I’ve never really tasted anything other than “coffee” in coffee, but this brew has distinct notes of chocolate in it.

I was a little disappointed when I realized that this jar didn’t have four full servings in it — more like three and a half. I’ll be sure to check the measurement on the bottle for the full four servings next time I purchase this coffee.

As for breakfast, I knew I wanted to use up one of my Lou’s Famous Chicken Apple Sausages, but I was at a loss as to what else to make with it. Enter kale. I had about half a bunch already trimmed, cut and ready for use in the fridge, so I sauteed it with some chopped onion, salt and pepper. Then I added in the sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces, and stirred until the whole dish was warmed through. I topped it with a bit of sour cherry goat cheese.

Delicious, especially considering no forethought was given to this meal. This mix would probably make a good lunch or dinner, too!

 

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Filed under breakfast, coffee drink love, primal, review

I’ll Make You Banana Pancakes.

I woke up this morning to the sounds of an angry washing machine. It rattles everything around loudly with no regard for the bedroom to which it’s directly adjacent; mine. It wasn’t an entirely bad wake up call because it’s an absolutely beautiful day here at the beach. And also, I got to sit down to this wonderful spread not long after I woke up.

Three ingredient banana pancakes. One banana, two eggs, and a spoonful of almond butter. That’s it, that’s all you need. Plus some butter for frying and perhaps a drop or two of vanilla and a few sprinkles of cinnamon. But seriously, these are the best grain free pancakes I’ve had so far. Coconut flour pancakes are always too dry for my liking and while these banana pancakes are super thin, they’re super sweet and moist. You don’t even need syrup!

For breakfast this morning I enjoyed four of these thin, crepe-like pancakes served with a fresh sliced peach and some blueberries. Coffee on the side!

For lunch a few days ago I browned about four ounces of grass fed ground beef with onion, garlic, parsley and taco spices (cumin, chili powder, etc). Served atop some red leaf lettuce with a bit of tomato. I was super hungry but super stuffed after this gigantic bowl! It kept me going for hours.

On Monday night I made dinner for Jay and I. We started off with an appetizer of fresh mozzarella topped with slow roasted cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. So good. Jay doesn’t like tomatoes so I ended up eating most of them. I can’t complain.

For dinner I roasted a pastured chicken with lemon, garlic and parsley. We had some zucchini on the side but I didn’t snap any pictures of the actual meal because we were so hungry!

I hope you enjoy the rest of this beautiful day. As for me, I’m off to the beach!

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Filed under breakfast, bubbaloo, dinner, lunch, nut butter, paleo, primal, salad, wiaw

Two Years.

It’s been a crazy week. Wednesday was my twenty-first birthday, from which I spent most of Thursday recovering. Friday and Saturday were devoted to preparing for me and Jay’s two year anniversary. Two years. I can’t believe it’s been that long, or that it’s gone so fast. I honestly could not imagine my life without him and I am so lucky to have him in my life. Who else would put up with my relentless food photography? Or try every single weird thing that I make? I don’t think anyone else could make me feel the way he does; secure, happy, beautiful, loved.

And that’s why I put together an anniversary dinner for us, consisting of coconut shrimp, beef kabobs, and key lime pie. All paleo-friendly and delicious, except the pie which was super tart!

Jay was wonderful as usual and helped me by grilling the kabobs as I prepped the coconut shrimp.

He even helped me peel and devein the shrimp before he started grilling! Once the shrimp were cleaned I dipped them in an egg and then dipped them in a mixture of coconut shreds, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic power. Into the coconut oil they went! I served them with a peach dipping sauce, which consisted of a fresh peach, lime juice, a serrano pepper and some red onion.

I marinated some sirloin overnight following this recipe. Jay helped me skewer the meat with some bell pepper, onion and fresh peach! I wanted to use local, seasonal ingredients so I used peaches, basil, onion and bell pepper that I picked up at the Media Farmer’s Market on Thursday.

Jay grilled the kabobs to done perfection. They were delicious. We had enough food for lunch leftovers the next day.

My favorite part was the peaches — they were so sweet and juicy.

A few hours after dinner I whipped out the pie, but by then it was dark out and the pie pictures did not deliver. Although the pie crust was wonderful (made of almonds, dates, and coconut oil) the filling wasn’t sweet at all, which is what Jay and I both expected. He and I both ate a piece, though, despite the constant pucker.

I couldn’t have asked for a better night, or a better Bubs. He bought me a beautiful necklace to replace one that broke. It’s my favorite. He also got us tickets for a concert this upcoming Saturday and I can’t wait! I have off of work the whole weekend so it’ll be a great time.

Here’s to our third year together, that it may be filled with even more love and joy. I love you, Jay, so much.

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Filed under bubbaloo, love, paleo, primal

Curried Apricot Chicken Salad.

When I first started looking into Paleo and Primal eating I stumbled across this lovely recipe via The Primalist. In the past month, I’ve made it almost every single week. I usually roast a whole chicken on Sunday or Monday, have a few leftovers, make bone broth, and then make this chicken salad out of what’s left. It gives me a good serving of protein to last throughout the week and it’s also pretty delicious.

Onion, celery, apricots, and toasted almonds! I like to throw the almonds in the oven for 10-15 minutes to add a nice, toasted flavor.

Chopped chicken! It’s amazing the amount of meat you get from a chicken if you’re thorough about cleaning it off the bone.

Once you’ve assemble the ingredients all you have to do is add the spices and mayo, mix together, and serve. This recipe has given me a good excuse to start making my own olive oil mayonnaise, which is easier than it sounds.

This chicken salad is great over greens or simply eaten on it’s own. Lately I’ve just been eating it straight from a container on my work breaks; it’s the perfect punch of protein that I need to get me through the day. Again, I have to thank The Primalist for this wonderful recipe! It’s made my transition to a Primal diet infinitely more enjoyable.

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Filed under paleo, primal

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Meatballs.

Last week I put my Birchrun Hills Farm ground beef to the test by whipping up some meatballs. I had a few choice ingredients on hand — sun dried tomatoes and basil — both of which I figured would go perfectly with the classic Italian dish.

Ingredients:
1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 pastured egg
1 clove garlic
5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
5 fresh basil leaves
fresh ground sea salt and black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Mince the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and basil in a food processor. Set aside.
3. Empty ground beef into a bowl and add egg, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Stir until thoroughly combined.
4. Add desired amounts of salt and pepper and form the ground beef mixture into balls using a spoon or ice cream scoop. The mixture should make about 16-18 meatballs.
5. Place meatballs in oven for 10-15 minutes, checking at the ten minute mark for doneness.
6. Once the meatballs are cooked through, remove from oven, let cool, and serve with your favorite pasta dish! Or in my case, serve atop some zucchini pasta and parmesan cheese.

For my first time making meatballs, these were pretty good. Since I didn’t drain the sun-dried tomatoes before I added them to the mix, you can see that quite a bit of oil seeped out during cooking. Also, since these meatballs don’t have breadcrumbs they have more of a burger texture than your standard meatball. They still work just as well, and you can freeze them for later use! Especially if, like me, you’re only one person and cannot stand to eat meatballs for eight days straight!

Meatballs atop fresh zucchini pasta. Yum!

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Filed under paleo, primal, recipe

Paleo Diet: Weeks Four/Five.

This is the final post of a four-part series documenting my transition towards a paleo/primal diet. For previous/related posts in the series see:

Why Primal?
Paleo Diet: Week One.
Paleo Diet: Week Two.
Paleo Diet: Week Three.

Today marks my fifth week of following a primal diet. Of course, I meant to update last week to mark my fourth week and first full month of going primal/paleo, but I guess I was too distracted by ice cream and avocados to really care. Anyway, it’s been an entire month and it’s high time for me to reveal my full experience so far on this diet.

Pros:

1. Improved digestion. This is a no brainer. I am rarely overly-full anymore and any fullness that I do experience goes away within an hour or less. This is huge for me, as the feeling of “full” really affects me. Since I’m in recovery from an eating disorder, it’s extremely important to me that I don’t feel like my stomach is going to explode. I guess this is important for anyone…I don’t know anyone who really enjoys that physical sensation, but being free of the “full” feeling has helped me feel better about my body and eating habits.

2. My hair is growing! My hair has seriously never been as long as it is now, even though it’s only shoulder length. I’ve always had relatively short hair because my hair doesn’t grow fast, or seemingly at all after a certain point, but after a month of consuming more protein, fat, fish and fish oil supplements, my hair appears to be getting longer. It’s also very shiny and generally just looks/feels good. My improved hair health/appearance could possibly be due to the fact that over the past few months I’ve reduced the amount of times I wash it in a week from 6-7 to 3-4 and try my best to prevent breakage (fewer towel turbans). Also, I rarely blow dry or flat iron my hair, and never dye it. Even with these preventative measures, my hair looks a lot better than it ever did when I was eating grains with every meal.

3. Improved skin. Although I’m still experiencing some mild acne on my forehead, I must admit that my cheeks, chin and nose have been almost completely pimple-free since I started this diet. I still experience blackheads quite regularly but pimple inflammation is gone everywhere except my forehead. Through lots of internet research I’ve discovered that dairy is a prime culprit of acne and that lots of dietary-related acne occurs on the forehead. I’m considering reducing the amount of dairy I consume to see if it makes a difference, but at the same time restricting my diet even further does not appeal to me. I rely on butter and heavy cream (and sometimes ice cream!) to pack quite a few calories each day and I also find the flavor of coconut oil too overpoweringly sweet for savory dishes. Perhaps nixing the daily yogurt will show me some improvement?

4. Kitchen creativity. On days that I don’t have work, I’m in the kitchen at least once a day creating something delicious and jam packed with nutrients. Some favorite paleo/primal dishes so far include bacon sauteed kale, apricot curry chicken salad, and of course, crustless quiche. In fact, I roasted a whole chicken and made a quiche lorraine today! I’ve definitely breached my comfort zone by dealing with raw meat and also trying new foods such as sardines and kimchi. I love that the paleo diet encourages you to try new, healthy, sustainable foods.

5. A growing wealth of knowledge. I learn so much every day just by researching and reading about the paleo/primal diet. I’ve discovered farmers markets as a result of wanting to consume fresh, seasonal produce. I’ve been buying pasture raised eggs because they are farmed using sustainable practices. Incorporating what I’ve learned about nutrition and sustainability into daily practice makes me feel like a thoughtful consumer. Of course, the best thing for me to do would be to start producing most of what I eat, but for now, with my limited time/space, I can at least forgo store bought soups, nut butters, and whipped cream in favor of making my own.

Cons:

1. Societal response. I’ve experienced quite a bit of backlash from my sister recently about the changes in my diet. She consistently calls what I’m eating “bird food,” even if it consists of roasted chicken with roasted carrots on the side, followed up by strawberries and fresh whipped cream for dessert. I don’t think that birds eat themselves, and honestly, it’s my body. It’s my choice. I understand that with my history of an eating disorder it’s difficult for her to look past the strides I’ve made in my health, both physically and mentally, and only see that I’m restricting grains. Until she understands why grains aren’t the best food source, there is no point in arguing. But it’s frustrating and I’m tired of being nagged about the fact that I enjoy cooking and eating real, whole foods.

2. Costs. Grass fed meat, organic chicken and pasture raised eggs all come at a cost. Before this diet, I never spent money on meat or eggs. I only ate those things if they were in the house already. I’m trying to remember that the cost of eating this way will repay me doubly in terms of health.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed trying out a paleo/primal diet and don’t plan on adding grains back into my diet any time soon. Will I eat cake on my birthday? Of course. But I find in general that the benefits of not eating grains greatly outweigh the stomach bloat and social acceptance that comes with eating grains.

One thing I really did not experience on this “diet” was increased energy. A lot of people who start the paleo diet seem to gain tremendous energy just from changing the foods they eat, but I haven’t noticed much of a difference, if any at all. Perhaps this is because I had a pretty decent diet before paleo and consistently ate superfoods such as organic kale, spinach and quality butter. I’ve also been very lenient about natural sugars such as maple syrup and honey while introducing the paleo diet and I’ve also enjoyed  a few pints of quality, but sugar-laden ice cream. I can’t say that I’ll be reducing my sugar intake any time soon, but further down the road maybe I’ll see if reducing my sugar intake equates to increased energy. Furthermore, I’ve noticed no improvement in my sleep patterns. This could very much be due to the fact that it’s summer and on most days I have the chance to sleep in and stay up late. I would like to try getting my body back into a sleep schedule to see if that improves my energy.

What I’ve really learned about the paleo diet during this four week trial is that it is definitely more than just a diet; it’s a lifestyle, a way of being. Eating fresh, local produce and meat helps sustain both the body and environment. This “diet” for me has never been about losing weight, but rather about improving my health. I’m happy that along the way I’ve been supporting local farmers and reducing my carbon footprint by purchasing locally produced and transported goods. Ice cream aside, I’ve never felt denied or hungry on this “diet.” I eat plenty of fat, protein and yes, even carbs via vegetables and fruit. I’ve even eaten muffins and pancakes and plan on making paleo almond flour bread when funds for the almond flour are available. It’s not about what I can’t eat, but rather the wealth of options that are now available to me, as well as the experience of creating delicious, homemade food.

In the next few months I hope to continue experimenting with paleo recipes and meal ideas. I’d really love to visit a local farm and pick up fresh produce and eggs. It’s something so simple that now seems so special to me. Now that this first month is over, I may update every months or so about how things are going for me in terms of energy, acne, what works and what doesn’t. I love that through nutrition I am learning what works for my body — in areas that I never knew were related!

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Filed under ed, paleo, primal, recovery