Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

diet

Paleo Comfort Foods Cookbook: Making Paleo Accessible to Everyone

Last Friday evening, I stopped by my condo to check the mail and found a copy of the Paleo Comfort Foods Cookbook waiting for me to review. What an awesome surprise! I quickly flipped through it and realized that if it did not say “Paleo” on the cover, I would not have known at first that it was a Paleo cookbook. What does this mean? Well, it means that these recipes are a collection of super delicious meals, snacks, and desserts accessible to ANYONE, even those who are not following a Paleo diet.

What is Paleo? Well, if you have never heard of the Paleo diet, I am glad you are here. The best way to explain it in a nutshell is that it is a diet rich in proteins and fat. A typical day for me is grass-fed beef or organic chicken, a TON of vegetables like broccoli, onions, and cauliflower, butternut squash (and any kind of squash you can think of for that matter, including PUMPKIN!!), a little avocado, bacon on some days, coconut milk, coconut oil, treats like cashews and dates, fruit (berries and citrus). I do have cheese (raw milk blue is my favorite!!), but I am going to dial that back in the upcoming weeks as I would like to lean out just a little bit more. To learn a little more about my diet, you can click here.

When I tell people that I don’t eat bread, processed grains, or dairy other than raw milk cheese, I get a lot of resistance, almost like they are horrified at the thought of ever giving up those things themselves. I guess maybe it is a big deal to some people, but I am not sure why there is not more of a demand for clean and healthy food that doesn’t make us sick. I am not sure why most people take medicine if they have heartburn or high blood pressure when they should first simply take a look at what they had to eat over the last month or year or even at their last meal and maybe ask themselves how long has it been since they walked or jogged a mile? I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m just merely making a suggestion.

I am so puzzled by people who continue to shove known poison into their bodies for the sake of “it tastes good”, “it is cheap”, “it is convenient”. I kind of have a rule for myself as far as what I eat now… usually if it has a commercial or a marketing campaign, I don’t eat it. This pretty much means anything that comes in a package. If it has bright colors or loud fonts, that’s another red flag.

Ah, I rant therefore I am.

The thing is, I am not going to convince someone who is already gulping down transfatty donuts and eating bags of chips and cookies (and oh yeah, those cute little sugar as crackpipe cupcakes I used to make not so long ago) and boxes of Little Debbies (WTF is in a “Star Crunch” anyway?!?) already on the crazytrain fasttrack to heart, colon, pancreatic, liver and kidney diseases. I guess if you are happy living that life, go for it.

But, if you are tired of feeling sick and tired, constantly on a diet and feeling starved all the time (with little to no results), and just frustrated with CONSTANLY CRAVING SUGAR and never feeling full or satiated…well, try dropping a few things from the rotation like the morning cinnamon roll… 😉 Even the evil Weight Watchers has it in for you with their little processed snack cakes. I don’t care if it is only one “point”. 😉

Oopsy, ranting again…

The Paleo Comfort Foods Cookbook is a great resource if you are already Paleo, or if you are just starting out. It has numerous meal ideas and tips, tricks, and even kitchen equipment suggestions to help you make the most of your Paleo cooking. You have no more excuses to eat poorly.

You can buy the Paleo Comfort Foods Cookbook here on Amazon. So many great recipes in one place for under $20. What a bargain for your health and your loved ones who might resist the idea of giving up certain foods. This book is a great transition into the Paleo diet without the feeling deprived.

Just read some of the recipe titles: Bacon Wrapped Dates, Chunky Guacamole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Fried Chicken… does that sound like deprivation to you?

By the way, I made the “Paleo Spiced Nuts” on page 62 and took them along to 2 different parties over the weekend. Guess what? I didn’t have to say, “Oh, these are Paleo” or “Oh, I made these because they follow my diet plan” I made them because I knew they would be freaking delicious!! Just take a gander at the recipe below (I added golden raisins to the mix, they were not a part of the original recipe):

1.5 teaspoons cumin

.5 teaspoons chili powder

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

.25 teaspoons cayenne pepper

4 cups raw nuts (NO PEANUTS! They are beans, far less nutritious, and not Paleo.)

Nuts to include the following: cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, brazil nuts.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut oil or organic butter

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup red wine

1. Simmer the raisins in the red wine to plump them up and drain them in a sieve. Set aside.

2. Mix the spices in a bowl and set aside.

3. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

4. Add nuts and toast until lightly browned, be careful not to burn.

5. Add the oil or butter and vanilla and toss to coat, then sprinkle your spices over the nuts and stir until well combined.

6. Spread the nuts out on a lined cookie sheet (easier clean up this way) and speckle them with the raisins–just place them wherever in little bunches on the sheet amongst the nuts. The raisins give a little sweet to the spiciness that I just love.

7. I set the cookie sheet back in the oven at about 150 to keep warm until I was ready to serve them. Be careful once again not to burn.

You can like Paleo Comfort Foods on Facebook here or follow them on twitter here. Thank you, Julie and Charles Mayfield, what a great book and what awesome people you are. Saving the world one meal at time…

If you are Paleo and looking for mealtime inspiration, or if you are the opposite of Paleo, I encourage you to check out this book.


Healthier Fare at the California State Fair!

I love going to the California State Fair every year. I visit several times during the duration of the fair, and enjoy the exhibits (especially the California county exhibits), the wine garden, the concerts, and just people watching in general. 🙂

This year, I have changed my focus a little with my side business and this website. I no longer make cakes or sweets or anything that I shouldn’t be eating. Well, anything I shouldn’t be eating I certainly don’t want to try and sell to you.

So now, I want to report more on healthy living… or at least making healthier choices. In this post, I will show you that YES, there are better food choices at the fair. You can make it out alive without having a “deep fried” anything. No one is forcing you to eat a funnel cake, ok? If you are currently on a diet or have been advised by a doctor to stay away from sugar and excess fat, you don’t have to avoid the fair altogether. Read below for some information on vendors I visited that carry lighter food choices!

Check out this chicken and vegetable kabob I got from Jeanne’s Artichoke booth. She is located across from the wine garden area over by the bungee jump. The kabob is just chicken and vegetables and probably about 200 calories. Of wonderful protein and complex carbs!! All delicious fuel for your body. 🙂
Here is a picture of her stand. Look for the big artichoke. Below are other choices at her stand. You can also get a steamed artichoke. Bring your own lemon and pepper or sea salt. I am not kidding. When you are dieting you plan ahead to avoid failure. There are even sandwiches at Jeanne’s (though I avoid anything with bread or processed grains), and those of course are better picks than anything deep fried.

After I obtained my chicken kabob, I headed over to the wine garden to try some award-winning wines and to taste the wine of the day. Tip: Buy a souvenir wine glass for $7 and when you buy a glass of wine you actually get more like a glass and a half. The volunteers at the wine garden are very nice people and a lot of them are pretty knowledgeable about wine without being snooty, so if you are a wine novice, feel free to ask questions and really get dialed in to a wine you like before you buy! 🙂

Also, don’t miss this coming Friday’s (July 29th) wine event at the fair. The Taste and Celebrate the Best wine event (formerly California Grape & Gourmet) is the culmination of the Golden State’s premier wine competition. This special celebration of the State’s world class wine industry will include a tasting of California gold medal winning wines as judged at 2011 California State Fair Wine Competition. Proceeds from the Taste and Celebrate the Best event will benefit the Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Program. You can buy tickets here. (scroll down to the Taste and Celebrate the Best event).

See the labels above? Those are three wines I tried (not in that order). I ended up buying a glass of Murphy Goode Chardonnay to go with my chicken kabob. So now, my calorie count is at about 400 (with the kabob, wine, and wine tastings). And 400 is a fraction of most foods at the fair. Moving on for dessert!!
Pignotti’s is a booth located in the wine garden that sells cheese and fruit plates. It is owned by Ken and Cathy McKnight. They also sell pasta, but we will avoid pasta won’t we? Yes, we will. I am looking for something light and sweet. Yes, a little fruit plate. Though the feta cheese plate looks awesome and is a great choice as well. I was pretty much ready for dessert so it was melon and grapes for me! Perfect. And now… only up to 525 calories or so.
After my fruit, I was ready to walk around and scope out more choices to write this post. If you go in the main county exhibit hall, you will find this place called Grinders. They have a few different salads you can choose from. Just avoid the “grinders” ;). Think of how you want your abs to look “grinded” or “shredded” and go with a garden or a chef salad. No dressing!! This is again when you bust out the pepper and lemon. Or, you can find a place with a little tabasco sauce or one of the stands that has soy sauce. Anything vingary, but please skip those nasty high fructose dressings. No bueno!!
If you head to the back of the fair behind the wine garden and the exhibit halls, there’s an awesome agriculture exhibit with a lot of hands on garden stuff, plants, fruits, vegetables, and guess what?!? A produce stand where you can buy… omigosh: healthy food! Check it out.
You can buy fruit by the piece or by the basket. There are also items such as carrots, string cheese, and melon in the cooler. I bought some carrots on day two of my visit.
Another place I spotted is this stand that sells char-broiled corn. Now, this is definitely a healthier choice, but I avoid anything with corn at all because corn is a grain, NOT a vegetable. But, it’s definitely a better pick than french fries or the wall of onion rings.
The same stand also sells vegetable kabobs, grilled pineapple (YUM) and fruit cups–awesome!! The stand is located near the kids rides on the way to the livestock area.
More healthy stuff at the fair… not just food, but MOVING! Shake your booty to the blues!
This is the Hiney Blues and Brews stage where Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers (find them on iTunes here) play Fri-Sun from 5-8pm. It’s a real treat for me. And yes, I do love to dance. And so do the people in the pictures! So fun! Also, come out to the fair Blues and Brews stage and get Mick’s cds… he is selling them 3 for $15 ONLY at the fair. He will sign them for you, too! His music just makes me happy and happy = healthy!!
Lastly, I didn’t even mention this, but you can BRING in your own food. Now, how is that for opening up healthier options? This post was done over 2 days, so the kabob/fruit meal was Friday night and on Saturday night I actually brought in my own cooler. Another fair patron asked me about it, and I was surprised she didn’t know about bringing food.
I brought in my own water. My own ice. It was a cooler no bigger than a large purse and I was fine carrying it around because it saved me a ton of money and I could bring in my own “good-for-me” food.
My mini cooler also contained: raw broccoli, red bell peppers, (bought some carrots at the produce stand for fifty cents), some avocado (I had pre-mixed with salt and lime and mashed in a ziploc bag for a quick veggie spread), some Laughing Cow light blue cheese (I dipped my broccoli in that) and some almonds–quick tip with almonds, count out 14 of them and that is about 100 calories! I will be back again a few times this week hopefully and bringing my cooler along. 🙂
The California State Fair runs until July 31st. You can follow them on twitter here and find them on Facebook here. Here is a link to a schedule of the fair’s daily events/activities. To purchase tickets to the fair or for any events, you can go here.

Preface

For as long as I can remember, I have been very hard on myself. And everything in my life I have taken so personally. Of course, these two things combined can be a little disastrous. I have always been extremely self-conscious and shy. This might sound funny to people who have met me before, but I assure you it is very true.

My flaws have nothing to do with my parents, who are both still living, happily married, and fantastically awesome. I will not blame anyone but myself for being a complete mess in the past. What I will do is try and explain why I am the way I am, what I have learned, and how I have changed.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want to help you if you want to hear it. Many people have told me I should testify (don’t laugh, it’s a great choice of word), and I do think my information is good, useful, and somewhat interesting.

I still in transformation mode, both physically and mentally. And even when I am finished with my physical transformation, I will always be in repair mentally. Always working and learning to be a better person.

I will try to not be militant or angry about the advice I give and my opinions on food, diet, and weightloss. When I start to sound preachy, please understand that my words come from passion and experience. I now consider myself to be an expert in hair loss, weight gain and weight loss. And now that I am in a tremendous place right now in my head and my heart, I am ready to write about my past struggles (about which I can look back and see myself squirming and dying to break free), and my current and future breakthroughs (triumphant)!!

There is really a sunny side, and yes, (as cheesy as it sounds) you don’t have to look far to find it because it comes from within… Happy Independence Weekend!