Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

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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.


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!


Cake Wreck…

It’s hard to walk away from something when I am passionate about it, talented, and not to mention award winning at it, but it has to be done. See, I’m kind of what you might call a “cake wreck”.

I baked my last batch of cupcakes last Monday night, May 2nd. By “last”, I mean that I am no longer going to bake. I am no longer taking orders. Even from friends. Sorry.

Why do I want to throw in the oven mitts?
I no longer want sugar, dairy, or processed foods in my house.
I believe sugar to be toxic and highly addictive… (and now that I have come to that realization, I do not wish to poison other people.)
I never made any real profit from baking because of high overhead costs, baking in small batches here and there, and the waste of leftover ingredients I had to either eat or throw away.
(And the biggest reason): I am battling a form of bulimia. My triggers are sugar and processed foods. The bulimia I speak of is mainly “exercise bulimia”… I do not binge/purge, as throwing up is just not my style, but I did practice a great amount of “tasting” as a wine taster would.
I am sorry if my decision is an inconvenience to you. Trust me, it’s very hard to tell you “no” when I am a people pleaser, I know I make the best cake in Sacramento, and one of the reasons I bake is to justify eating “forbidden” foods. But I can’t play this game anymore. I am tired of being on a ridiculous cardio/sugar cycle.

Every time I think I am OK and I can handle the baking thing or having butter, sugar, flour, etc, in the house, I blow it. I’m like a two-year-old junkie. I go ballistic. I don’t stop until it’s GONE. All I can figure is that I am truly addicted to sugar in almost any form.

To justify my behavior, I would run miles and miles (burning 800-1,000 calories at a time). The exercise would in turn only make me hungrier and crave more food/sugar. More sugar…more running… more sugar…more running. Have to burn it off, but so exhausted.

So, that is why I have to stop literally running myself into the ground.

I should not be dressing to hide my body. I should not be staying home away from social events because I am ashamed of the way I look, but this has been happening for about 6 months now. I avoid cameras like the plague and untag photos of me that pop up on Facebook when people have managed to sneak and take them. I am only 33 and THIS SO SHOULD NOT BE the story of a semi-attractive, funny, personable woman with several friends. I want to be as fit and beautiful as possible, unashamed of going out. I want to be in lots of photos, smiling, and just enjoying life. So, being as honest as I can with all of you, and changing the way things have been is absolutely essential for me.

I have been following a new plan for the last month and it is working pretty well (albeit achingly SLOW). I am heartbroken I can’t fit into many of my clothes right now from even six months ago. I am down 10 pounds but still have 20 to go. I don’t blame my body for the slow weight loss, being completely confused on what to do with food I actually do eat… as my body is used to being starved and then crammed with sugar and then exercised to death. The weirdest part is that I have understood food and nutrition for years, and yet I have had such an odd, tortuous relationship with food and exercise.

In addition to the weight loss, I hope to also understand the reasons behind my self-destructive behavior, and to somehow reroute my energy when I am anxious, or energize myself without the use of food when I am feeling blue.

The cakegrrl website/twitter handle will go on as it always has. I am grateful to have this website, to be tied to the name, and to be semi-known here in the Sacramento food world. I will still attend events, do restaurant reviews, promote/attend fundraisers, provide food news and occasional recipes. And soon, I hope to post before and after pictures. I will also be starting another food website that is dedicated to the type of diet I now follow, called Paleo.

I hope you all understand.