Tag Archive: food


After almost 9 years of marriage, and 2 kids, Valentine’s Day shifts a little. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorn kisses. Sometimes, it’s sneaking away for 2 hours during the restaurant’s slow time and eating carbs and drinking alcohol. Just us?

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We decided to go to one of our favorite local establishments. 1. Because they have an awesome beer selection! 2. Because they have really great food. If you are in Lake County and don’t regularly go to Firkin, I don’t know about you…
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As we were there, reminding ourselves of how much we actually do like each other, we talked about how great it will be when the kids are in high school, and we can just do this whenever we feel like it (this is not where you chime in and tell me all the reasons why that is not gonna happen. Just let me believe this.)

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We stuffed our faces pretty quickly with Warm Goat cheese in a spicy tomato sauce, Fried Oysters, French onion soup, and Spicy Pork Tacos. #notpaleo We enjoyed some Hopslam and some Affligem Blonde beer. Unbuttoned our pants and went to pick up the kids.
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It was actually a beautiful winter day with snow falling as we ate. Now I have a fire going and I’m happy as can be. 9 years with Brent and I can’t wait for 9 more. A couple that drinks together, stays together…
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Today I watched a documentary that I have been very impatiently waiting to see- Fed Up. It is a very well made, acurate portrayal of our food industry and why we are so sick in America. Do you ever watch something at home and feel like a crazy person because you are nodding along, and saying ‘preach it!’, and clapping even though you are alone and your child is sleeping? Just me…? Well, anyway, that is how I felt today. And, now naturally, I am going to preach to all of you.

It’s bullshit! Let me say that again so you know it didn’t just slip out the first time. It is complete and utter bullshit that we know so much about what makes us sick, but we never hear about it because of the massive amount of coroption. We know that fake food is killing us. We know that too much sugar is killing us. We know that we are killing (or at least giving disease to) an entire generation of children. We know this, and we do nothing.

So, I was pretty riled up when I first started writing this. I have actually deleted half of a post 2x now trying to find the right level of ‘intense’. I can be pretty…uh.. energetic sometimes. But, I didn’t want to scare everybody off, so I turned to Facebook and asked my friends if they wanted ‘tough love’ or ‘supportive encouragement’. I got your typical mixed bag response (and one ‘bacon’?) so I thought I would try and make everyone happy (because that usually works so well).

Tough Love: Stop eating crap. Wait, seriously, stop it. 1x per week! That is what you get. 1x to eat the junk! I’m not saying you can never have pizza and cupcakes, but you can’t have that shit every day. You just can’t. And, either can your kids. Every time you turn around, someone is trying to give your kid sugar, and it is often the parents. For the love of god- what do you think happens to a kid who has cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner (that’s about 5x the recommended level of sugar for the day)? They get sick. Sick looks different for everybody, but it WILL eventually happen (Did you know that you could have a thin child that still has high blood sugar and fat around their organs? Sorry, but it is important that we don’t brush these things off because our kid ‘looks fine’.). And, I didn’t even mention juice and pop and gatorade and vitamin water and chocolate milk.

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Supportive encouragement: I know it’s hard. Making better choices for yourself and for your family seems impossible sometimes. We are all so busy, and we have picky children. Bottom line, we are all getting way too much sugar and sweetener. Try and make at least 2/3 of your meals at home, and stop giving your kids soda, juice, and gatorade. This will make a dramatic change in their over all intake. I would also highly recommend saving cereal for the weekends only or just 2 days per week.

Tough Love: If you are trying to lose weight, eating less is simply an exercise in futility. What happens when you eat the same foods, but less of them? You get hungry! How many days can you last when you are hungry all damn day? Not very many. This is why ‘diets’ fail. Change the food you eat to real food, cooked at home, and you WILL lose weight. Example of foods that are not ‘real’ or ‘cooked at home’: pasta, bread, rice, pasta sauce (out of a jar), salad dressing (out of a jar), Yoplait strawberry yogurt, lean cuisine, etc.

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Supportime encouragement: The old adage of ‘eat less, and move more’ is out of date. We need to really hold a microscope to what we are eating. If you think about the amount of exercise it takes to burn the calories in a soda or sugary coffee, you will quickly realize- all calories are not equal. In the movie fed up, they compare 160 calories of almonds to 160 calories of soda. The effect these have on your body are amazingly different. IF you are eating the right things, your body will thank you. What are the right things? Vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, nuts/seeds. Did it grow out of the ground (and can be eaten before processing)? Safe. Did it have a mother? Go for it. Can you forage for it? Go take a hike! Focus on protein, fiber, and healthy fat and you can’t go wrong.

Tough Love: Do you still need to work out? Of course you have to fricking work out! Our bodies were designed to lift and run and twist and move and have sex. This is a huge part of keeping our bodies healthy and keeping our brains happy. The point I am trying to make is that you can’t eat non-sense and expect to work it off in the gym. That only works for 18 year old boys… You need to eat right FIRST. Then, you need to also challenge yourself in the gym. Btw, reading a magazine on the elliptical for 20 mins. is not going to cut it- ever.

Supportive encouragement: Love yourself where you are right now. Not everyone is going to join cross fit and that is okay. Just remember- food is the most important thing. A close second is exercise. Challenge yourself to do more each time but don’t compare yourself to others. Take classes to get an extra push. Hire a trainer to teach you how to safely lift weights. Encorporate more playful activities into your life. Only running isn’t the answer. Only doing zumba isn’t the answer. But, mixing up your activity in a way that is fun and challenging is most certainly the answer.

Tough Love: Oh, my Paleo diet is a fad??? Please tell me how a diet based on vegetables, healthy protein, healthy fat, fruits, nuts/seeds, and limited sugar is a NEW and CRAZY idea??? Compared to the standard American diet, the Paleo diet crushes it in every category. Can people screw it up and eat too much red meat? Sure. Can people get too discouraged when they try the diet because they try too many complicated recipes and look for pature-raised bison-livers? Absolutely. But, does that mean the whole premise is bad? Of course not. I also strongly believe in supplements beyond this but that is a different topic for a different day…

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Supportive encouragement: If you are looking to change your diet in a way that cuts out the modern junk, I would stronly encourage you to give Paleo a shot. Give it at least 2 weeks to truly feel the effects (30 days would be better). All you need to do, is focus on plants and meats/eggs. Lots of veggies, good fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, grass fed butter), good protein, fruits, nuts/seeds, and limited sugar and dairy (no dairy if it bothers you). You can do anything for a couple weeks, and there is no ‘risk’. This is one of those things you have to commit to. Just cutting back on certain things (although that is a step in the right direction) will not have the same effect as making the leap. The biggest thing is plants first and then protein and fat. Fiber is like your sexy friend that loves to dance and has a british accent and helps you poop.

If you have any underlying health issues, or are pregnant, or are an endurance athlete, ask for some more professional help. In my humble opinion, any person in the world can and should eat this way, but understand that I am not a doctor! Just remember, if you do ask your doctor, make sure he/she knows what the Paleo diet actually is before they wave it off and call it ‘the new Atkins’. GRRRR!

Okay, I tried to find the balance there between tough and supportive. Hopefully everyone found their comfort zone. Let me know if you have any questions. I am playing around with doing one-on-ones and possibly a grocery store tour. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, let me know. Thanks for listening, and please please please watch Fed Up.

napWhy am I always tired? I hear this a lot! We have a nation of sleep deprived zombies, dragging their feet, and ‘surviving’ their days. We have people drinking 20 oz. coffees to stay awake on their 45 min. commute to work, where they sit all day (don’t forget the 2pm diet coke so you don’t fall asleep at your desk), all to go home and relax and unwind in front of a television and a cell phone. It’s okay to be tired sometimes, but you shouldn’t LIVE tired. That shouldn’t be the norm. Here is why I think most of us are so stinkin’ sleepy:

1. Your diet is shit (part 1):
Your blood sugar is probably like a roller coaster. Breakfast made up of mostly simple carbohydrates (toast, cereal, oatmeal, bagels, danish, muffin, etc) will likely lead to a crash by 9:30am. If you are having a hard time making it to lunch before you’re hungry again- you are eating the wrong things. For Breakfast (well every meal as far as I’m concerned) think Protein/Fiber/Fat. If you have those 3 things, you are fueling your body in a way to stabilize blood sugar and therefore fight the ups and downs of energy through out the day.
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2. Your diet is shit (part 2):
You’re eating fake food! Your body only knows how to process FOOD. It doesn’t know what to do with the ‘other’ stuff. When you eat processed foods, your body ends up focusing on cleaning the junk out of your system vs. getting the nutrients from your food and powering your body. If you are eating chemical filled food, instead of your body celebrating and providing energy, your body kicks into an inflammatory response for damage control. Calories are good, happy, hard working friends when you are eating real food. Calories are mean, destructive bastards when you are eating fake food.

—By the way, what qualifies as a processed food or a fake food? Did it grow out of the ground? Does it have a mother? Does it have less than 3-5 ingredients? Can you recognize the ingredients? If you answered yes to these questions, you are all good. —
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3. Your diet is shit (part 3):
You’re not getting your vitamins and minerals. I use to think this was baloney (by the way, there are very few vitamins in bologna). I am now convinced, sold, bought in. Here is what I take, and I swear by them.*
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4. You don’t sleep enough:
Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep a night? If not, sleep more. Just make it happen. Prioritize better. Sleep is your friend. Your cozy, warm, sexy friend and it misses you.
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5. You don’t move enough:
I know it sounds counter intuitive, but you need to expend energy to get more energy. Most of us sit all day and all night. We need to move our bodies a lot, and in different and challenging ways. If you don’t figure out ways to get up and move from your desk, you are going to have a bad back and a flat bottom and a tired sad brain.
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6. You’re too stressed:
Our bodies evolved to have short bursts of stress. Like, ‘oh shit, saber-tooth tiger!’ stress. We are not designed to live maxed out lives with unending stress. Take time for yourself, be in nature, meditate, get a hobby that brings you joy, quit your job and come work with me (winky face), and learn to say NO. Remember, ‘No’ can be a complete sentence.

Okay, I hope that helps. Sorry about the tough love. I’ve never been much for sugar-coating things. Wait, that is probably another reason you are tired, you eat sugar-coated things. 🙂

If you liked this, please feel free to share with your tired friends. Also, if you would like to work with me, email me at creimholz@gmail.com . We have fun!

*I am an independent distributor for Shaklee. I make money off sales from these links. I am also not a doctor. I didn’t go to school long enough. But, I do share things that have worked for me personally and encourage you to check with actual doctors with actual degrees.

This post was inspired by a friend on Facebook was venting about being fed up with trying to figure out what is best for her family. For many people it feels impossible to sift thru all of the information out there and even if you did, you’d probably do something wrong any way. Well, if you are one of those frustrated people, this post is for you. I have been trying to read everything I can for the last three years on food, diet, clean living, immune building, and stress/sleep. Here are my OPINIONS*. Now, since I already established that these are my opinions, you are not allowed to get mad at me. 🙂 This is simply the conclusions I have come up with for me and my family. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. Hopefully something in this post will resonate with you.

First things first: Relax, this doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t need to for most people. If you tried to over haul your household in one swoop you would spend way too much money and be overwhelmed. Take baby steps. Every time you run out of something ‘unhealthy’ just replace it with the better option. It took me 3 years to transform our lives and household and we still aren’t perfect.

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Real Food: Don’t over think food too much. It is not really as confusing as we all make it seem. I know that it seems like every time you turn around, they are changing their recommendations on what you should or should not be eating. This is true, but it is also mostly non-sense. If you are eating real food, food that grows out of the ground, food that comes from healthy animals, and eating to nourish your body, you are safe. If you eat these foods, you don’t need to worry about salt, sugar, and fat. If you eat these foods, you will never need to count calories again. These foods are vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, healthy fats, and nuts. You can’t go wrong.

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Fat: Don’t obsess over fat! If you follow the ‘real food’ guideline above, fat should not be a concern to you. Healthy fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado (fruit and oil), Omega 3 fatty acid, and butter from grass fed cows (Kerry Gold is a great brand). Avoid vegetable oils, transfat, and fake products like margarine. I actually started feeling better and losing weight when I added fat to my diet- true story.

Dairy: Okay, this is where it gets really tricky. People have a lot of opinions on dairy and we have a serious addiction to it here in the states. IF you can find raw milk to drink, that would be my first recommendation. Pasteurizing milk cooks out all of the good stuff. Raw milk is quite a bit healthier and totally safe from a reputable farmer. It is expensive and hard to source however. If you cannot drink raw milk, my next recommendation would be to avoid milk. We really don’t need it. Regular milk really doesn’t do anything for you. And, the whole ‘we need milk for calcium’ thing is not accurate. IF you are unwilling to give up milk, get organic and full fat milk. Skim milk is silly. It doesn’t help you lose weight, it is highly processed, and doesn’t fill you up. It is added calories for nothing in return. Unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are alternatives, but they have their issues too. Best bet is find the version that works for you, but limit it. If you like a little milk in your coffee, fine. If a few times a week you make a smoothie, great. If your kids love milk, limit them to 1 glass a day. When you limit the amount of milk your family drinks, it makes it easier to afford the higher quality options.

Processed foods: This term is thrown around so much lately that no one actually knows what it means anymore. In my mind, this is anything that doesn’t grow that way. There is not a Ketchup plant, there is a not a bread tree, there is not a cereal bush. Anything that comes out of a box on the shelf at the store is a processed food. Limit these to 1-2 times per week. I am not saying you can never have a potato chip, but it should not be something you have often. One time a week I let myself have what ever I want. Sometimes it is pizza, sometimes it is a giant sandwich, but I plan for it. I go out for it instead of having it in my house.

Kids food vs. grown-up food: We are the only place in the world that has this concept of ‘kid’s food’. There should be very little difference in the food that you eat and the food you feed your children. Don’t feed down to them. If you are having fish, give them fish. If you are having vegetables, feed them vegetables. Is this hard? YES. Do they hate it? YES. But, with all do respect, who cares? It is better for them in every possible way to eat real food. And, in the long run, easier for the parents. Repeat after me: “I’m done making 2 dinners”.

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Organic: Do the best you can. I absolutely cannot afford to buy everything organic. It is just not in our budget. You can google the clean 15 or the dirty dozen (something like that). It gives you the best and worst produce with regards to pesticides. The way I see it, even a non-organic apple is still better than a bag of pretzels. Don’t beat yourself up, but do what you can.

Sugar: Sugar is one area where I would say- worry a little. It is a big problem for our kids. There is sugar in everything and it is every where we go. We can’t control everything, and that is okay. But, you can control what is in your house and what your kids eat majority of the time. I’m sorry, but sugary cereal for breakfast is about the worst choice. Kids (and the grownups) should start their day with protein, fiber, and fat. Finish the cereal you have and then stop buying it. Cold turkey. Actually, ‘cold turkey’ would be a much healthier breakfast then cereal. No more juice, flavored oatmeal, and flavored yogurt. They are loaded with sugar! If your kids are dunkers, try to limit the ketchup and BBQ sauce- loaded with sugar. I know it’s a little scary and a little depressing, but sugar does crazy things to our brains- especially kids’ brains.

Chemicals: Chemicals are everywhere, they are in your homes, your food, calling from inside the house! Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife… Okay, I got carried away but you get what I am talking about. Between red #50 and pesticides and toxic cleaners, etc. it is a little over whelming. I switched out all of my household cleaners (sprays, floors, dish washer, laundry, etc.) to a green and clean brand last year and I’m so glad I did. They are so safe, my kids can use them without my concern. You spend a huge amount of time in your home, it is the air you breathe most of the time, and the only environment that you can control.
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Supplements: Even with a perfect diet, you will have holes in your nutrition. For kids I recommend Incredivites. For grown ups I recommend Vitalizer or at least Vitalea. For everybody in the whole entire world- I recommend a high quality probiotic like Optiflora. Probiotics are magical and can literally transform your health (immune system, digestion, even mental health).

Keep it simple stupid: Don’t stress too much and don’t over complicate. You don’t need to start searching for special recipes or start making home made granola bars (although you can and they are delicious). In the beginning, just stick to the basics. When you are shopping, ask your self these questions:
1. Did this grow out of the ground or does it have a mother?
2. Does this make me healthier or less healthy?
3. Is this going to temp me (mom or dad) if I buy it? (think ice cream, bread, snacks, etc.)
4. If Candy saw this is my pantry would she yell at me? Hahaha, don’t make me come over and start throwing stuff away. 🙂
5. Trust your gut. YOU are the mom or dad. YOU are the only one that truly can make these decisions for your family. Do the best you can, and remember that nobody has all the answers.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to ask. This is what I love to do and talk about. Either comment below or email me at creimholz@gmail.com.

*I am an independent distributor for Shaklee. I make money off sales from these links. I am not a doctor, nor am I trying to treat any medical conditions. This is from my personal experience.

***Work with me. Do you have a passion for clean living too? Email me at creimholz@gmail.com to see if this would be a good fit for you.

Day 10

10 days ago I started a 30 day challenge to get my eating back on track. I had seriously fallen off the wagon. Like, fell off the wagon, hit my head on a rock, peed my pants and forgot who I was… Anyway, in order to break the binge, I thought I would try to be as strict as possible for 30 days and see how I felt at the end. So, I am saying no to gluten, most dairy, sweets, and red bull.

After 10 days, I am doing really well! I did have a 1/2 of an egg roll on Saturday and that is technically gluten so I am not 100%. BUT, I went out in the city and to a concert on Friday and did not have a red bull (shut up, for me it’s hard okay!), and I did not have any candy/sweets/chocolate on Easter or since. That’s right, I have about 10 pounds of candy in my house and I am not eating it.

My energy level is definitely creeping up. I find that I really only want (let alone need) 1 cup of coffee in the morning instead of 2. I am back to sleeping really hard at night. Much less tossing and turning. I also feel like my face is a little less puffy but it is so hard to tell in a weeks time.

One thing I wanted to mention is that I am a busy person just like the rest of you and I know that eating this way is tough. I have mentioned my love for Trader Joe’s in the past, but I have not spoken about Mariano’s before. They have a lot of really great pre-made options. These, of course, are still not as good as knowing exactly what’s in your food and where it is from but it is a great option. They have the rotisserie chickens, meatballs (these do have gluten, so beware if you are strict), seafood, pork tenderloin, chicken salad, beef tenderloin, etc. On weeks that I know are going to be busy, I will go load up on 3-4 things that- at a moments notice- I can serve to anyone who is hungry. My key to success in my diet is having ready-to-go protein 24/7. It’s not that I eat protein non-stop, it’s that those are the foods that take longer to prepare. We all know that weak moment when we realize there is nothing quick for dinner so we grab the phone to order something instead.

I wish I was a better planner. I wish that I was the kind of lady who planned her menu and shopping list ahead of time and stuck to it. Maybe someday, but as of right now, I do the best I can and have a few go-to dishes that I can whip up.

Eating snapshot:

Sunday (Easter)-
Brunch: Ham, egg, sausage, fruit, bloody mary
Lunch/Dinner: Brisket (so good!), cheesy potato casserole, deviled egg

Monday-
Breakfast: Banana/egg pancakes, fruit, coffee with coconut oil and coconut milk
Lunch: Lara bar (breakfast was huge and late so wasn’t very hungry)
Dinner: Chicken, carrots, pistacios

Tuesday-
Breakfast: omlette with spinach and turkey (cooked in coconut oil/butter), coffee with coconut oil and coconut milk
Lunch: BIG salad, with pork tenderloin, hard boiled egg, and homemade dressing
Dinner: roasted broccoli and onion, a little pork tenderloin (not too hungry because of big lunch), wine

If you want to follow along on my journey, I am posting a bunch of ‘food stuff’ on instagram lately. (@candysbrain) I will also continue to update on here.

How is your challenge going?

So, I am on the third day of my challenge and I am feeling really great so far. As a reminder: no gluten, no sweets, no red bull, and no bad dairy. After all this time of talking about food, the question I get asked the most by far is ‘so, what do you eat???’. Well, here is what I have eaten since Sunday morning.

Sunday-
Coffee, sweet potato hash, sausage, egg, strawberries
Chicken, carrots, water
Ham, Brussels sprouts, red wine (1)

Monday-
Coffee, left over sweet potato hash and sausage, water
Mixed greens salad, lemon/olive oil dressing, chicken and avocado and bacon, water
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Ham, kale, water

Tuesday-
Coffee, ‘green eggs and ham’- eggs with spinach and green onion and ham, water
Salad with hard boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, bacon, water
Cucumbers and cashews, water
(tonight will be) Apricot chicken, butternut squash, sauteed spinach, red wine

My energy has been good. I didn’t have the best night of sleep last night. I have been drinking a lot more water than I am used to which led to me getting up 3x last night. I am confident this will improve. Normally when I am eating and drinking right, I sleeplike a baby. But not a stupid new born baby, like a 3 year old that sleeps for 12 hours a night and wakes up all sweaty and crazy-haired. 🙂

I also am on Day 3 of my happiness challenge and am having a lot of fun with it. I am already spending so much time thinking about the things that make me happy. There were 3 things by 9am that I wanted to use as my # picture on instagram (@candysbrain), but decided to hold off. It is amazing what simply focusing on what makes you happy will do with your mood. I have also been walking around for 3 days singing, ‘because I’m happy…!’ like some kind of maniac. That is, when I am not harmonizing with my son to ‘Let it go’. He got his singing skills from his mama. Poor guy.

Okay, that is my update for now. Did anyone come up with their own challenge?

calendar with pinsThat’s right. I am recommitting, again. I have fallen off the wagon a little. Nothing dramatic, but my cheat days have turned into cheat weekends. And my weekends have turned into Thursday-Monday. The nice weather has given me an excuse to increase the amount of beer being drunk. I have indulged in a few things that I know darn well are horrible choices. Don’t get me wrong, I am still eating great about 85% of the time, but I have learned that for me to feel great and have the energy level I know is possible and to effortlessly control my weight, I need to be closer to 95%.

Now, let me be very clear on this. It is not the AMOUNT of food that is the problem, it is the type of food. So, when I say I need to recommit and/or buckle down, this is not a ‘diet’ in the traditional sense. When I am eating right, I don’t feel deprived or hungry. I don’t count calories. I just don’t eat crap and I drink less alcohol. I am very anti calorie restriction diets. These diets very rarely address the real problem that is the kind of food being eating (processed, chemicals, diet foods, etc.). I believe when we restrict calories, we are dooming ourselves to failure.

So what’s my plan? I’m doing a 30 day mini-challenge. If I can do this for 30 days, I know it will be the jump start I need to get back on track. After the 30 days, I can go back to the 95% plan. Here is what I will be abstaining from.
· No Gluten
· No ‘bad’ dairy (yogurt, kefir, raw milk-okay)
· No sweets/treats (I put a little bit of good quality chocolate in my coffee and will continue with this, but nothing else)
· No red bull (my favorite drink is red bull and vodka and yes I know how horrible it is for me and my sleep)
· No dessert drinks from Starbucks (no toffee nut mochas, etc. coffee okay)
· No quesadillas (my family’s favorite quick dinner is ‘dias’ on corn tortillas, I will not have one this month, sad face)

What should I expect? Well, I can tell you right now, I can expect a little frustration and temptation. I can expect me really wanting to give in with a RB&V on the weekend. I can expect trying to convince myself that a little piece of a brownie is not that big of a deal… Sounds bad right?

I can also expect my energy to sky-rocket. I can expect the puffiness in my face and stomach to go down. I can expect to lose weight. I can expect my skin to clear up. I can expect to simply feel better. And, maybe I am just super sensitive to food or maybe it’s all in my head but I genuinely feel happier and less stressed… Sounds good right?

This is the perfect time for a challenge! I don’t know if you have heard of the 100 days of happiness project but I just started my 100 day challenge on Sunday. Every day I am going to post a picture on instagram (@candysbrain) of something that makes me happy. And, it just so happens that being healthy and feeding my family right makes me VERY happy. In fact, I would put health at the very top of the happiness mountain! So, the 2 challenges go perfectly hand in hand. Also, winter is over (mostly) and the weather is turning. Soon it will be time to get back into summer dresses and bathing suits. I’d like to transition to shorts without tears. 🙂

As usual, I invite you to join me. You can either do my challenge or make up your own. It should be challenging though. For example, me just cutting out sweets would not be hard. Sure, it wouldn’t be easy, but not too hard. It is not easy to change habits, but soon enough you can have new habits and it will be easy.

And, 30 days is important because we build up tolerances to the foods we eat. You might not know that you have a sensitivity until you completely take it out of your diet and then try to add it back. Food sensitivities are not like allergies. The reactions are delayed. Sometimes hours, sometimes days. Sometimes, like with gluten, you eat so much of it that it is never really out of your system so it’s impossible to tell if that is causing problems or if it’s something else. And, sensitivities can be vague: joint pain, skin irritation, headaches, gas, bloating, increased menstrual cramps/PMS symptoms, bags under your eyes, anxiety, insomnia, seasonal allergies, etc. You never really know… I would bet that most of us are walking around with sub-optimal health because of our diets not including our weight!

So, ‘insert call to action here’… and join me! I’ll update regularly on FB and Instagram so stay tuned. Also, I want to hear about your challenge if you do one. It’s so much easier if you know someone else is doing it too. xoxo

023I went to the new Trader Joe’s in Libertyville yesterday and I was just so inspired! Maybe it was because I am happy to have TJ’s closer to home, maybe it was because it was 50 degrees and sunny after a spirit-crushing winter from hell, but I don’t think that was it. I think it was because I felt like a French Lady at the Market. Can you picture it: some classy woman, dressed well, red lipstick, stopping at the market and picking up a few ingredients and some wine to bring home to her family? This imaginary family then sits around a table for hours enjoying each others company and the delicious food. (If you haven’t learned this about me yet, I have quite the imagination). In this fake scenario, there is none of the typical issues most of us face: no time, kids fighting, family complaining… It is a happy place and I want to live there more often. I am going to live more ‘European’.

In many other countries (France, Italy, Spain, etc.) the food that people eat and their relationship to it is vastly different than our experience in America. Of course I am making extreme generalizations here so if you take offense in anyway- you’re missing the point. In Europe you are less likely to see someone loading up their cart at Wal-mart every other week with convenience food and industrial size tubs of cheese balls. We have become obsessed with saving a buck and saving ourselves calories. We care more about how much fat is in something than what ingredients are in something. Exhausted moms are like zombies in the super market aisles asking themselves ‘will my kid actually eat this?’ On the other hand, people in Europe buy full flavored fresh foods without obsessing over calories. People in Europe don’t avoid chocolate, but they also don’t wolf down a Butterfinger on their way home from work. They ENJOY the chocolate.

When I went to TJ’s, I had no plan and no list. I knew I needed a few dinners, and I was out of wine. I walked the store and picked up things that looked good and fresh. I grabbed a fresh salsa we’ve never had for my husband. I got a whole chicken that I made last night, and I have some fish and soup for tonight. Add in 5 bottles of wine, fresh fruit and veggies, and call it a day. I didn’t bring home anything I am going to regret having in my house. I didn’t buy any food that will sabotage our diets/healthy eating. But most importantly, I didn’t ‘shop-down’ to my kids. I didn’t buy something breaded, bland, and beige for them to eat. I didn’t buy some food-like product that is easily palatable so I can get thru dinner without complaints. I simply bought food. When we ate chicken and roasted veggies last night, so did the kids (Will told me cauliflower is not his favorite). When we eat fish tonight, so will the kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in some weird bizarro world where my kids love everything I make, but they do know that what mommy makes for dinner is what’s for dinner. There is no back up dinner; there is no snack later because you didn’t eat your dinner and there is CERTAINLY no telling mommy that the food is gross! (I will actually be blogging about feeding kids soon so be on the look out for that).

Lastly, food should be wonderful and exciting and fulfilling and fun and delicious. Food shouldn’t be depressing or worrisome or filled with guilt or boring or stressful. People talk about love-hate relationships with food. There should be no hate. By choosing foods that are real and fresh and yummy and preparing them to nourish your family, you will never need to worry about calories again.

So, you can either be:

That frazzled, crazed, hurried woman at Wal-mart, fighting the crowds, cursing people under your breath, schlepping around 3 weeks worth of convenience food, obsessing over how many calories is in your lean cuisine and your vitamin water, wondering if your kids will eat pork chops or if you should just get nuggets for them, and going home feeling crabby and wanting to order pizza.

Or, you can be:

That stylish, calm, collected woman at the ‘market’ smelling the produce and smiling, placing carefully selected ingredients in your basket, bringing home new and exciting flavors for your family to try, and never again worrying about calories or fat because you know that when you focus on nourishing your body and soul, you will never be unhealthy.

It’s all in your head, and you can have that experience too. Just decide it

Our family eats about 90% paleo, so that means we eat a lot of eggs! Like a lot of eggs. I am constantly searching for ways to keep eggs interesting for my kids. I already have mom guilt about never letting them eat store bought cereal and toast, so when I hear ‘eggs, again!!!!!’ I cringe a little. 

One of my favorite resources since making the switch is the Nom Nom Paleo website and blog. I think it’s because of the sheer quantity of recipes available. It also helps that I have liked everything I’ve made from that site. Here is what I made this morning, but I encourage you to see for yourself

Frittata Muffins-

-1 lb. ground beef (grass fed if possible), you will probably only use half of the meat so either double the recipe up and use all of it or do what I did which is freeze half of it so that when I make this again next week, I won’t need to brown the meat again. 

-1 small onion chopped

-Handful of spinach ripped up

-1/2 cup shredded cheese

-heaping tablespoon plain yogurt (full fat), you could use kefir or cream or milk if you wanted probably

-6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350

Brown the meat and onion in a pan and then let cool. 

Scramble eggs, yogurt, cheese and spinach in large bowl. 

After the meat mixture is cool, fill up the muffin pan or silicone muffin cups half way with meat.
photo (25) Top the rest of the way with the egg mixture. (I actually topped with more cheese too).
photo (26) Bake for 20-25 mins. or until knife inserted comes out clean. 

I like my baking cups because they don’t stick at all! 
photo (27)

You can also use whatever types of seasonings you are in the mood for. I wanted them to be kind of like tacos so I chose salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Very tasty. Kids loved them and begged for more. 

 

 

photo (24)

I had a request from a facebook friend to post a recipe with either spinach or squash. I am not big on squash (it is honestly one of the only veggies I don’t really like), but I love spinach. And my husband LOVES spinach! There are very few things that are as healthy and as quick and easy as sauteed spinach. This isn’t much of a recipe, but for those of you who don’t really know what to do with your spinach besides making a salad, this is for you.

Here are all the ingredients you need: spinach, red pepper flakes, salt, and fat of choice (I like coconut oil)

photo 1

Heat up your oil in the pan on medium/low heat, throw in your spinach. Cook more than you think you will need, it shrinks like crazy. These pictures I am using a half of a bag of the pre-washed grocery store bags. This makes about 1-2 servings. Add salt, red pepper flakes. Cover and stir occasionally. It only takes 3-4 minutes for the spinach to wilt.

photo 2

photo 3

Transfer to a plate and top with crispy prosciutto chips or bacon (you could always cook the bacon up first and then cook the spinach in the bacon grease- oh baby!) The spinach is a little spicy, full of flavor, and of course jam-packed with vitamins.

photo 4

If you wanted to do the sauteed spinach with some fish, you could top with a little lemon zest. If you wanted to have the spinach with chicken, you could top the spinach with sun-dried tomatoes. Really there are a million different combinations. I LOVE FOOD!!!

What do you do with your spinach?

(I got the recipe/idea for the crispy prosciutto chips from Nom Nom Paleo. Really you are just putting prosciutto in the oven to crisp it up and then you can crumble it on salads, veggies, eggs, etc.)