Friday, December 30, 2011

Road Tripping, Paleo-ish-Style

I just returned home from a five day road trip with my family. Setting aside for a moment the obvious challenges of spending lots time on the road with little ones, I also had the challenge of keeping us on even keel, blood sugar and food-wise.

Here is how I approached road menu planning this time:
  • Overnight-soaked oats as a breakfast option. Since I didn't have a lot of advance details about where I'd run into a fridge or microwave, I needed a doable nonperishable item around for breakfast. I flexed for my daughters' breakfast a couple of mornings and had overnight-soaked gluten free rolled oats - which involved all mostly shelf-stable items. I had brought some fresh lemons, which I sliced open for a bit of lemon juice (the acidic element) and added some buckwheat flour (kept in the cooler) to the rolled oats and water as well. Buckwheat has phytase, which helps to eliminate the phytate present in grains - and since phytic acid typically binds to minerals in the digestive tract and keeps your body from absorbing them, phytic acid degradation via soaking with buckwheat works for us! We also added nutritious toppings to the oatmeal - in this case we chose from dried apple pieces, unsweetened dried coconut flakes, pastured ghee, and honey. (Since I'm lower carb for weight loss, I avoided oatmeal in favor of other options.)

  • Longer shelf life fruits. Apples, grapefruit, and bananas were our choices.

  • Nuts. Dry roasted pistachios with sea salt and raw cashews were on our journey this time. (since I'm working on weight loss I avoided the nomnomnomable cashews - they were more of a rare a treat for my husband and older daughter.)

  • Coconut manna. This was a go-between option for me - a sating low carb snack that usually only took a couple of bites to take the edge off hunger.

  • For low-carbers, Chipotle salad bowls, Chili's steak and veggies, sashimi and fast food bunless burgers. Yup, I'm the only lower-carb eater in my family - my husband and girls eat lots of natural carbs from fruit, tubers, and (as mentioned above) the odd dose of soaked oats or white rice. But for me, in order to keep my blood sugar steady and cravings at bay, I had to chose shrewdly during our 7 restaurant meals on the road. I went with Chipotle salads, sashimi (which is raw fish only - basically sushi without the rice), a steak and broccoli meal, and bunless burgers of various kinds, while avoiding sugar and grains.

  • For moderate-carbers, other options. Chili and baked potato (at Wendy's, but chucked the non-real "buttery spread" that came with), a split order of steak and veggie fajitas, with extra sides (at Chili's, but avoided the tortillas), and a meal of meat, veggies, and rice at the hibachi grill. No, none of the choices were perfect, but they were the best that could be figured out in the moment.

  • Flexibility on meats and (if you do dairy) cheeses. It turned out that we did have some fridges in our hotel rooms, so I took advantage of that by storing some preservative free lunchmeat and cheeses in them - and in our small insulated zip cooler in between stops. These were often a big part of my breakfast, along with the fresh fruit and Sea Snax. Speaking of which...

  • Sea Snax. I first heard of these snacks through Dallas and Melissa of Whole9 - they are sheets of seaweed toasted with olive oil and sea salt. They provided a nice savory, slightly crispy, low calorie/low carb snack. The Whole9 page has a coupon code good for free shipping until tomorrow night, so if you're interested in trying them out, this is a good time.
And yes, there were a few instances of my husband and girls having special treats (ice cream, etc.) on the road. The key, I think, isn't to aim for 100% compliance, but learning when on the trip it is worthwhile to make those compromises thoughtfully, so that you don't end up with a whole week of wall to wall food you're not used to eating, and thus potentially sick while travelling. In my case, having avoided sugar and grains, I managed to dodge sickness and riding the blood sugar roller coaster, and I ended the week 1.6 lb. lighter.

How do you manage to do a paleo / primal lifestyle while travelling?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Acknowledging My Weaknesses, and His Grace

I'm not a perfect parent. I don't do paleo perfectly (whatever that means, depends on who's been asked!).

I'm not a perfect Christian. I'm a less than perfect wife.

By now you've guessed I'm a less than perfect blogger (hellloooooooo, backup of Advent and lunchbox posts...).

I'm awful at some things, like keeping up with laundry. I'm terrible at loading the dishwasher efficiently (my husband manages to pack in at least 50% more dishes, and they still get cleaner).

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am full of frailties and contradictions. I'm impatient with my kids and my kitchen projects. I'm at one turn legalistic, the next turn, irreverent. A reluctant believer and a born skeptic. Easily distracted yet capable of hyperfocusing on the things that matter least. Irritable, yet also tenderhearted to a fault.

I am a human. My personal character weakness and my biochemistry all but predestine me to overeat hyperpalatable processed foods. Due to their engineered combinations of sugar, salt, fat, and easily-broken down carbohydrates, they are biochemically addictive and they feed something else deep in my psyche.

I grew up overweight, and after some slimmer high school years, I continued to battle weight on and off through adulthood, but especially after my pregnancies. If you have been overweight as a child, you know the pain that comes with the endless teasing. The awful moment when you realize that your gym class is picking teams again.  The panic attack that results when some school authority determines that heights and weights need to be taken, or that the skin calipers are coming out, in front of all of your classmates.

It is for these reasons - my childhood pain from being overweight and athletically inept, and my acknowledgment of my ongoing biological and emotional vulnerabilities to processed foods - that my husband and I have chosen to generally follow the paleo lifestyle for our family. I see favoring a nourishing whole foods lifestyle as giving us the best chance to sidestep that fate as my girls grow up.

Do I know for sure that paleo is the perfect way to health? No, but I can continue my research - doing my best to counter bias by reading opposing studies and viewpoints - and allow my choices to be shaped by an evolving knowledge of how human metabolisms react to certain foods. Will a paleo lifestyle forever guarantee myself and my family members everlasting health, fitness, and wellness? Nope. I could still develop cancer (as a matter of fact, I already have, prepaleo). We could meet an untimely death through an auto accident or some other tragedy. Though no fate in this life is guaranteed - except, ultimately, death - my main comfort is that I am working toward avoiding health calamities as logically as I can, which results in our paleo-style framework, based on the evidence I've read from peer reviewed studies published in various medical journals.

In the meantime, I treasure the grace promised in Jesus' arrival here on Earth - because my efforts are human and imperfect, and thus my results will never be perfect. I am so thankful that it is not me, but He who bridges that gap instead, sustaining us all along!

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Sixpence None the Richer on Grooveshark

Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lunchbox #152

Today, my preschooler's lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • Sliced leftover chicken
  • Pieces of whole milk mozzarella
  • A grain free gingerbread cookie, layered with cream cheese and crushed candycane (a leftover holiday treat)
  • Sauerkraut


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Update on Advent Calendar and Lunchboxes

I have so, so many lunchboxes and advent calendar pictures waiting to be harvested from my camera. The hitch? My camera card reader plotzed after about 2 years of service. I have another reader on the way...thinking it might get here early next week. Hopefully at that point I'll be able to get the backlog of posts up!

In the meantime, I'm hoping that you are finding a few moments of solace here and there. Already nearly a week until Christmas! Eek! Presents to buy, presents to wrap, cards to send. I'm way behind. And you all? How is your countdown til 12/25 going?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vitacost $10 Off Any Purchase Coupon Means Purity Farms Ghee, Shipped to Your Door for As Low As $4.47

The $10 off any purchase at coupon is still up for grabs! Using this coupon, you can get a 13 oz. jar of Purity Farms Ghee on for only the cost of shipping.

The description of the ghee says:
Purity Farms Ghee is made in harmony with nature, from organic sweet cream butter from pastured cows on small, certified organic family farms.
Honoring a traditional Indian method, pure organic butter is slowly cooked to coax out water and milk solids.  What remains is traditional delicious Ghee - a luxurious golden, semi-soft spread with a rich buttery taste and aroma. 

Here's how to score savings:
  • Optional: Go to and search for "Vitacost". Clicking to the website through ebates will get you an additional 4% cash back on your purchase - in this case it could be up to $0.52.

  • Add Purity Farms Ghee (13 oz., $8.08) to your cart. Also feel free to add anything $1.92 or less since the $10 coupon would cover both that and the ghee.

  • Use the $10 off any purchase coupon to cover the $8.08 cost of the ghee by entering your $10 coupon code in the "source code" field at checkout.

  • Pay only $4.99 to have it shipped to you. If you got cash back, your net is $4.47 spent on that ghee.

Other things you can buy with your $10 off any purchase coupon on 
  • Bob's Red Mill unsweetened flaked coconut, $3.27/bag. You can get three bags with that $10 coupon and still pay only shipping.

  • Native Forest Coconut Milk, $2.43/can. The $10 off any purchase coupon would get you 4 cans for just the cost of shipping, $4.99, which is $1.25/can - a fantastic price for organic coconut milk in BPA free cans.

  • Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour, 1 lb., $5.81. The $10 coupon will make two bags of this $1.62 + $4.99 (shipping), so you'd get two pounds of coconut flour for $6.61 (and even less if you get cash back through ebates). YOWZA! What a price! (Or, you could combine a single bag of the flour with something else around $4.19 to avoid paying extra.)

What's caught your eye at Vitacost?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lunchbox #151

Today, my preschooler's lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • A couple of mini cheeseburger quiches
  • Some lacto-fermented Bubbies sauerkraut
  • A piece of mint dark chocolate
  • A banana


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lunchbox #150

Today, my preschooler's lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • Egg salad
  • Fresh broccoli florets with a sour cream dipping sauce
  • Gluten free coconut macaroons
  • Slices of clementines


Friday, December 9, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 9 - Contrast

When I first went paleo, I was shocked to discover how - after a couple of weeks - previously bland or even bitter foods took on a new sweetness. Now, almonds and pistachios taste sweet to me - and even grapefruit is no longer tart to my tastebuds, but almost indulgently sweet. It's a lesson in contrast and context; if I ate a slice of store bought sheet cake, and then tried to eat some almonds, they would taste fairly bitter. But, when I've not had sugar for ages, almonds' natural sweetness comes through. These almonds, for my daughter's advent box, were very lightly coated in a bit of butter and palm sugar, and then toasted.

By the same token, Jesus challenges how we think about ourselves - He describes how God knows and cares about the status of even a humble sparrow, and contrasts that with the value of any one person's daily grind to the Almighty God. So while we're off eating the sheet cake of self-pity and withered self esteem, God is waving us over saying, "You, stop eating that sheet! Come discover the sweetness of these almonds and pistachios instead."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 8 - Forget Not His Benefits

Kumquats! I found these kumquats in a pint container at WalMart. Go figure. We've never had them, so it was a fun adventure to try them out - the outside (the skin) looks like it should be removed, but in fact you eat it - it's sweet in contrast to the tart and juicy center. I like to think of this kumquat verse as a reminder of the value in meeting God as far as you can - match his blessings on offer by giving your 100%, and just imagine the results!

Meanwhile, I had found this mini forget-me-not grow kit from the dollar section at Target. Though the pot was too big for the advent box, I simply put the label and contents into the box, and made the pot materialize later, after the box had been opened. Now the forget-me-nots sit in the sun near the kitchen sink, just barely peeking soft green buds out of the soil, and they remind us that God's blessings should always be at the forefront of our thoughts, serving as an low level, consistent exercise in gratitude.

Lunchbox #149

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Scrambled egg whites with dill
  • Fresh snow peas
  • Mashed sweet potatoes with raisins
  • Cherry tomatoes with olive oil and fresh basil


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lunchbox #148

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • A cheese and onion omelette
  • Mashed yellow sweet potato
  • Fresh snow peas
  • A sour cream dip


Real Food Advent Calendar: December 7 - Coconut "Milk and Honey" Walnut Cups

The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert before finally arriving at their promised land, a, " flowing with milk and honey."

Sometimes - say, in learning how to eat right and to get active - even when you want the fastest path from A to B, it turns out that you need the journey, even a journey that's more roundabout. By the time you finally do reach point B of figuring out what works for you, your very character has been changed for the better because of the process.

Commemorating a final "milk and honey" goal is a little cup with chocolate on the bottom, and on top, melted coconut oil mixed with warmed coconut manna (which mimics the creaminess of coconut milk) and a trace of honey. I dropped in a few walnut pieces to give it crunchy texture and popped the whole thing in the freezer to set.

Meanwhile, to fit the idea of the process being of importance, is an egg of Silly Putty - because it is God with the end point in mind, and He is the Sculptor of our destinies. A "common use" does not denote "unvaluable" - a common water jug used every day is very valuable in its services offered - and thus is of equal importance to some finely sculpted unique object d'art. So - do not worry about whether your destiny is common or noble. Rest in the knowledge that it is valuable and fully in God's hands either way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 6 - Great Joy for All the People

Isn't this Lindt angel super precious? I thought, she's perfect for the little advent box! Then I got home and realized - she was about half an inch too long. D'oh! So, she was kind of already hanging out of the box a little when my 4 year old got to it. At least I know that she wasn't feeling stuffy. :-p

And the angel said, be not afraid! Again that phrase enters my thoughts for the umpteenth time in recent memory. The shepherds were cowering at the sight of this unexpected guest, but the angel wanted to allay their fears immediately and instead to boast the tidings: He is HERE!

The wee Christ child, born into the humblest and most awkward of circumstances, in a dank manger, to an unwed mother. Yet from this setting came the biggest of miracles!

In the same way, God asked the Israelites for their donations, knowing that they would be modest on the individual level, in order to melt down their jewelry and convert their treasures into fittings for His temple. This is where my daughter's treasure for today came in - this time something decidedly not from the dollar store - a necklace of Baltic amber.

Through His power - via the donations and skills of His people - God spun an awe-inspiring miraculous home for his Spirit. God with us. With the Israelites in their temple. With Joseph and Mary in the manger. And with us still today!

Lunchbox #147

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Mashed yellow sweet potato
  • Whole milk yoghurt
  • Nuts and raisins, and half a hard pressed treat
  • Some SeaSnax toasted seaweed


Monday, December 5, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 5 - A Hard Pressed Treat

Ah, December, the most relaxing, rejuvenating, peaceful month of the year.

*ahem*, not

Are you feeling pressed in from many sides? Pressure to get the holidays just right? Unsure that you'll get the gifts and other traditions together before Christmas? Or just trying to manage "regular life" under the weight of a bunch of holiday obligations?

I hear ya, so. there. The day after Thanksgiving I got back on the lower carb train, had about two days of brain fog, then by Monday was feeling pretty good again. So here I am, trying to be faithful in weight loss efforts - and allocating my modest fruit and starch carbs intake very strategically just before and just Crossfit workouts...and I'm making advent calendar treats for my daughter every day! Though very tempting, I haven't given in to eating any of the treats yet; my stable blood sugar isn't worth compromising for me right now. 

So due to me attempting to bear down, the number on the scale is going down - 9.2 lb. since Black Friday. BUT, I'm feeling the effects in my Crossfit workouts - especially the higher cardio ones. I've read before that with Crossfit you have to prioritize leaning out or performance, so it's making sense from that perspective.

This day's treat is inspired by the concept of being between a rock and a hard place - the idea of being "hard pressed". Here we have almond butter and maple syrup combined in 1:1 ratio, then squished between two plain rice crackers, then covered in high quality dark chocolate. It's my less-processed gluten-free take on the chocolate covered Oreos that seem to emerge this time of year. ;)

So if you're feeling hard pressed this year, hang on; the chocolate covering is coming sooner or later. :)

Meanwhile, some silvery foil fingernail stickers with a star pattern appealed to the inner glamour girl. It's a reminder that doing things well does eventually stand out and serve as a testimony - whether faithful healthy eating or simply shepherding your family steadily through the chaos of the holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 4 - Salted Sweet

Today's sweet was a piece of chocolate with sea salt and almonds. Sea salt! It enhances the sweetness of the chocolate - the same way that carefully seasoned words enhance the tone of a conversation. It served as a reminder to me that our words must be considered carefully when describing to someone why it is that we believe what we believe, and why we do what we do. Thus being prepared to explain oneself logically and with references, owing to continuous and scrupulous self-education is of paramount importance, whether in scripture, or in your nutritional research.

The whistle came as a thought of God using his whistle to call his faithful - the same way ancient shepherds called their sheep. Even from the greatest distance the sheep could be summoned by use of the whistle. May I always hear the whistle when God is calling me to something!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 3 - The Value of Traditional Ways

Now over a year and a half into this traditional foods / paleo lifestyle, I'm learning so much about how folks were preparing foods just a couple of generations ago. So, the Proverbs verse really rings true to me in this context; it heralds the value of learning the passed on knowledge of one's elders, like a precious necklace.

As for the chocolate covered hazlenuts, I thought that the slightly sweet dark chocolate outside and mildly bitter crunchy inside were good illustrations of the outside/inside analogy of people. Hopefully my daughter can remember as much even as she munches through them. :)

To make these, I simply melted a small handful of dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish in the microwave, then I stirred the chocolate until smoothly melted. I tossed a small handful of hazlenuts into the bowl and stirred them until they were evenly coated. I then spooned the hazlenuts onto parchment paper to cool before popping them into their mini silicone muffin cup.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Real Food Advent Calendar: December 2 - Strengthen Me With Raisins

Fun fact: it was recently determined by researchers in a study that raisins are a better workout recovery tool than sports gel. Can you imagine that? After a hard workout, a whole, natural source of carbohydrates does a better job at replenishing the body and muscles than artificially colored and flavored high glycemic index sports recovery gel. It's almost like we were meant to eat the raisins instead after taxing our bodies... In fact, the Song of Solomon indicates as much.

We don't consume tons of raisins at our house, but I think that they are perfectly fine, particularly for active and growing bodies. They work well for us as an on-the-go emergency snack option, usually when combined with nuts trail mix style. However, raisins are just rare enough to still constitute a treat for my girls, so in this case their advent treat for the day is a minimix of sliced almonds and raisins.

And as for the almonds? Israel sent them with his sons back to Egypt as a peace offering to the his son (then-covert) Joseph - a gustatory olive branch. (I don't know about you, but I'm definitely a sucker for nuts as a hostess gift. That Israel knew what he was doing!)

So the treat comes with the undertones of strength (for the raisins) and peace (for the almonds). I can't think of two more apt qualities that arise from those who tell their testimonies about how Christ has changed their lives - the same Christ who said, "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Commemorating that verse is a fun little battery powered tealight - which can be found at dollar stores (mine sold them in three packs for a buck) or bought in bulk online.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lunchbox #146

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • A leftover slice of from our rare Chebe pizza night
  • Some flower cut out of liverwurst
  • A Clementine
  • A sour cream dipping sauce, and
  • Some fresh snow peas


Real Food Advent Calendar: December 1 - Coconut Manna Walnut Cups

Psalm 150
Quite the jamboree, eh? I am a person who really gets into Christmas music - I have it on almost constantly from mid-November through the New Year. I saw this little drum and thought it the perfect reminder that sometimes a good worship jam session can get me and my daughter better mentally prepared to herald the celebration of Christ's arrival. It doesn't have to be lingering fireside carols (though I enjoy those too!) - a couple of exuberant tunes with high octane drums and guitars courtesy of Relient K gets us from 0 to 60 in no time flat. :)

Drumming Up Some Christmas Worship by C on Grooveshark

Exodus 16:4-5

Now for the December 1st advent calendar treat! These are very, very easy to make - and take less than 5 minutes. I like that they involve coconut manna - it reminds me of the fact that God gives us exactly what we need, exactly when it is needed. (It's learning to trust in that fact that is the hardest part for me!)

Coconut Manna Cups
Makes about 6 cups

1/2 cup high quality dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons coconut butter or coconut manna (or coconut butter)
6 walnut halves

In a microwave, melt the chips in a microwave-safe bowl on half power (this should take a minute or two). Stir the melted chocolate until it is completely smooth. Pour just a bit of melted chocolate in the bottom of six mini silicone muffin cups (or silicone mini muffin cup liners). Use a teaspoon to spread the melted chocolate from the bottom of the cup up the side.

Allow the chocolate in the cups to cool for a bit.

On top of the chocolate in the cups, add 1/2 tablespoon of crumbled coconut manna and a walnut half broken into 2 or 3 pieces. Top these with more melted dark chocolate and use the teaspoon to smooth it over.

Place the manna cups in the freezer to further set, if desired.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Series Coming This Week: The Real Food Advent Calendar, a Healthier Alternative

I'm super excited!!  A few weeks ago, I bought a "fill your own" advent calendar at IKEA, and starting tomorrow, December 1, I am going have a daily post through Christmas on the calendar's compartments' contents.

Advent is a special season built on anticipation - for Christians it's when we remember how long the world waited for our Savior, as we (in microcosm) now eagerly await the celebration of his birth. I loved advent calendars as a kid -- doing the countdown to Christmas was that much more special having a calendar to watch and a little daily treat (usually chocolate) to enjoy.

These days, advent calendars can be found in a wide range of prices and qualities - some can be had at a dollar store, while others can be purchased from high end chocolatiers, and feature very high quality chocolate.

As for us and our IKEA special, I enjoyed both the idea of knowing exactly what ingredients went into the treats and the ability to add a something more than just chocolate to those cute compartments - a little toy or ornament, perhaps, that my oldest could enjoy finding. It allowed me to customize the calendar exactly for my 4 year old's attention span and interest levels. In our house, we'll read a bit of scripture while opening our daily countdown drawer as well, which I hope adds to our sense of anticipation as we celebrate Christ's arrival as Emmanuel - "God with us".

Some strategies for this project:

  • I'll be using minimuffin cup liners to separate the treat from the toy inside each compartment. (Mine are silicone but disposable would work equally well.)

  • I'll be using the dollar store and the dollar section at Target for toy resources. (This project is also another great reason to surf the Target dollar section's seasonal stuff just after a holiday expires to get little fun items for pennies on the dollar.)

  • Lest you think I've already completely filled the calendar's compartments, nope! I'm only about three days out right now. My plan is to go in 3-4 day chunks of filling the drawers, which will hopefully be a doable pace. Maybe next year I'll have the benefit of experience on this and be more ahead of the game. ;-)

  • The treats will be varied in their real food content. Some might include dairy, or nuts, or eggs - and some small amounts of sugar in the form of high quality dark chocolate. The treats will all be gluten-free, however. If your household doesn't eat one or more of those ingredients and you're still hoping to fill an advent calendar of your own, then feel free to adapt or come up with treats that are better suited to your family's dietary restrictions instead!
To see all of my Real Food Advent Calendar 2011 posts, click here.

Are you and your family doing advent calendars this year? How do you celebrate the countdown to Christmas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lunchbox #145

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Sliced mini peppers
  • Shredded grassfed beef roast
  • Mustard, for dipping
  • A boiled egg
  • Two Clementines
  • A coconut manna cup - I melted dark chocolate into the bottom of a silicone muffin cup, added a few chunks of coconut manna and a walnut, and toped with chocolate again before allowing it to set in the freezer


Sunday, November 27, 2011

80% Off Today! $10 Buys a $50 Credit for Natural and Organic Goods at Abe's Market!

Plum District has a GREAT deal today for Abe's Market, which is a natural goods online store. $25 buys you $50 worth of credit at Abe's Market - and online store of natural and organic gifts, foods, and other products. But, you can use the code SUNDAY40 today (code CYBER40 also works through 11/29) to get 40% off the cost of your voucher - making the voucher just $15. If you're a first time Plum District customer, you'll also get another $5 credit in Plum Dollars just for signing up - so you could get a $50 Abe's Market voucher for just $10! That's an incredible bargain!

You can get a good deal on PaleoKrunch this way - because Abe's sells PaleoKrunch in cereal (2 tubs/pack) and granola bar format. PaleoKrunch is a granola-type cereal, but without grains, refined sugar, or any industrial oils. In fact, the ingredients are as follows:

Almond meal, shredded coconut, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, almond slivers, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract

Yum!! This looks like the perfect item to have on hand for holiday road trips, slipping into a stocking, or topping your special Christmas morning treats.

Here's some other Abe's products I've ordered in the past and really loved:

  • Wisey's long sleeved bib - with removable velcro sleeves! It is a smooth wipeable material and can be washed in the dishwasher. I love it.
  • Clementine Art rock crayons. These vibrant all natural pebble shaped crayons are just charming.
  • Great Marsh Skincare products. All natural and a steal with the voucher! I've enjoyed the lavender honey hard lotion and the ginger lemongrass lip balm (sold in 2-packs). I've already packed some of the lip balm in my daughter's preschool teachers' Christmas gift (will blog about this very soon).
There's also a gluten free foods section; just be sure to read ingredient lists carefully as some gluten free stuff is still loaded with sugar, or less desirable ingredients such as agave nectar, canola, and soybean oil.

This is a great way to stock up on some natural and organic gifts or stocking stuffers at super deep discount.

What would you use your  80% off Abe's Market voucher to buy?

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Primal Kitchen at no additional cost to you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today, STACK ($15 Buys a $50 Voucher) WITH ($40 off $100) Purchase to Get $100 of Merchandise for $25!

*** Edited to add: Looks like the deal is getting even HOTTER! Ecomom's got a special running through Monday, $20 off a $50 purchase and $40 off a $100 purchase! Ecomom's Twitter feed says that this promo IS stackable with other promos, so you could theoretically buy the voucher for $15, put $100 worth of stuff in your cart, getting the total down to $60 (still above $50, so free shipping) and then redeem your $50 voucher - meaning you paid $25 for $100 worth of stuff! That's unbelievable! I haven't run this transaction through since it looks like EcoMom's servers are overwhelmed at the moment (they're working on it according to this tweet), but this is all the more reason to pick up one of these vouchers for SUPER cheap!


Today only, you can get a $50 voucher on Plum District for just $15. And better yet, there are two active codes I've read about today that can allow this deal to happen: ENJOY10 (for $10, good today only, so use this one first) and CYBER40 (for 40% off, good through 11/29).

While food and diapers are not eligible for the promo, there are plenty of natural living items that you can snag for a deep discount this way, like:

  • A wide selection of baby carriers and wrap carriers (great baby shower gift, especially if with this deal you're getting it $35 cheaper! -- or, for an inexpensive "backup" carrier for your car or your spouse's car)
  • Natural wooden toys (a classic under-the-tree Christmas gift)
  • Nontoxic nail polishes (both in colors/sets for grownups and kids)
  • Natural and organic toiletries, cosmetics, and baby bath sets (also a good shower gift!) also offers free shipping on $50+ orders. I bought one voucher with this in mind: When I decide on a gift for someone at or just over $50, it will have cost only $15 with this voucher deal. In fact, I'm already eyeing some Piggy Paint water based nontoxic nail polishes as a fun stocking stuffer for my girls. :o)

What at appeals to you?

On a Paleo Lifestyle as a Gift to Your Loved Ones

Happy Thanksgiving! Of course, paleo foodie that I am, I couldn't resist taking a shot of a loaded plate with my Droid. (You stay classy, Primal Kitchen.)

I am deeply grateful for the paleo, primal, and Crossfit communities - especially that they are so vibrant in our virtual world. :) Though it's been so thrilling to finally run into some traditional food folks in the flesh in the last couple of months, I know that there is no way I would have made progress or learned as much as I have without the collective wisdom and shared tips of fellow paleo people all around the world - and that includes my readers. THANK YOU for sharing your stories, tips, and recipes and for offering up support! I hope that your Thanksgiving holiday weekend offers lots of warm and memorable moments with your loved ones.

And...speaking of Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I'll wager that a few of you might be braving the crowds today for Black Friday deals. Bravo for you, I say! But even better, if you've stopped relying on sugar, grains, and industrial oils in your diet - if you've "gone paleo" - you are giving your loved ones a better gift than any you could have picked up at the big box store, even if you were first in line camped out with a tent and power generator.

As you know, I am the mother of two daughters, aged (almost) 2 and 4. While I know that (despite my wishes) I can't protect them from everything, I know that I can do my best to protect them from a lot of unnecessary ills. If I make it a priority for us to eat foods that our bodies are meant to use as fuel, and I ensure that my girls get lots of fresh air activity outdoors, I've gone a long way to protect them from:

  • Childhood obesity. If kids' day-to-day menus are chock-full of nutrient dense foods (and inherently lower carb than standard industrial diets), their metabolisms will operate as intended and won't degrade over time.
  • Inactivity. Fueling kids with quality food gives them the long-lasting energy needed to support lots of healthy playtime, climbing, running, and anything else their little bodies wish to tackle! Meanwhile, overdoses of sugar and other less desirable ingredients (especially from processed foods as a dietary staple) only serve to deplete energy and offer up a blood sugar roller coaster.
  • Childhood disease. There's still a lot we're learning about cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses that shouldn't be a part of any kid's life - but it's certainly becoming clear that wholesome nutrient dense diets partnered with outdoor play and healthy Vitamin D stores result in healthier populations on the whole.

As an adult, "going paleo" has a similar set of benefits! If you've been waffling or thinking about "going paleo", I urge you to consider giving it a 30 day try! You'll be amazed by the difference in how you feel (even short term), and even more by the long-term benefits reaped.

When you and your kids are eating the food you're designed to eat - and getting sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, you'll live longer and have more energy to do the things you love, and the "best you" is a gift that keeps giving!

Going paleo is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your loved ones - especially in the legacy it leaves your kids!

This post also appears on the collaborative blog Highbrow Paleo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stocking Stuffer Idea: 3 Green & Black's Organic Chocolate Bars, Shipped, for Only $4.99

Here's yet another of the myriad ways you could use the limited time $10 off ANY purchase coupon that's out right now.

If you're looking for a nice stocking stuffer surprise, you can add three very large (5.5 oz.) bars of Green & Black's organic chocolate (my favorite brand!), to your cart, which would total $9.57. The $10 off any purchase coupon will cover this total, so you'll pay just $4.99 as the shipping fee for the 3 bars of chocolate - which amounts to about $1.66/bar, extremely cheap for this normally-retails-around-$4 super delicious chocolate.

In fact, if you're planning way ahead, you could send these chocolate bars to another household (say, your brother and his family across the country?) and instruct the recipient to label them as being from you before they slip them into their stockings.

OR, consider $1.66 a very cheap price for a high quality chocolate to include in a Christmas gift basket for teachers and others who support you and your family throughout the year.

What deal have you decided to catch using your $10 off any coupon on at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lunchbox #144

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, dressed in olive oil
  • Sliced grassfed steak
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Dark chocolate with almonds
  • Fresh snow peas


Monday, November 21, 2011

Primal Kitchen Shirt Shop Open - Free Shipping and Freebie Deals Thanksgiving Week

I have had so much fun recently creating a few Primal Kitchen tees! I've now opened the Primal Kitchen Spreadshirt shop. It's a great week to have a shop's grand opening at Spreadshirt, because there are several Thanksgiving deals going on right now (as far as I know, they cannot be stacked, so you should pick the coupon code that gives you the greatest discount):

  • Through November 24, code XMAS5FOR4 gets you five shirts for the price of four!
  • Through November 24, code BUY3SHIP gets you free shipping on three shirts!
  • Through December 1, code SPREADJOY gets you free shipping on two shirts!
  • One more bonus way to save: If you go to ebates and search for "spreadshirt" in the ebates upper right hand corner search box, you can click through the ebates spreadshirt link in order to get 10% cash back on your purchase! Once the ebates link takes you to then type and enter "" into newly-opened address bar. 10% is rather generous - you'd net a few bucks cash back even if you bought just a couple of shirts.

There are three shirt designs currently cut loose on the Primal Kitchen spreadshirt shop (see both collages here for examples of all):

  • The Primal Kitchen Classic design, featuring a lunchbox overflowing with real food (no dairy, even, for you old school paleos), and a kettlebell on the side reading, "Primal Kitchen" in the wacky trademark font.
  • The Primal Kitchen Steak design, showcasing the finer things in life: veggies, garlic, and a juicy grassfed steak just begging to be devoured.
  • The "Nuts About Wallballs!" design, showing a squirrel tossing a 20 oz. acorn above a 10 inch line.
There are designs available for kids, women, and men, ranging from classic tees to v-necks to long sleeved to sweatshirts and ringer tees. Check the shop out and browse the wide variety of styles and colors!

You can also check out the spreadshirt designs of fellow paleo bloggers The Food Lovers' Primal Palate, Nom Nom Paleo, the Paleo Parents, Balanced Bites, and Cave Girl Cafe  - you can buy any combinations of shirts from any of our shops when using the above listed discount codes. (Feel free to add a comment linking to the spreadshirt stores of any other paleo bloggers! I've undoubtedly missed one or more.)

If there's a particular not-currently-existing combination of shirt style and the three above designs that you'd like to see in the Primal Kitchen shop, please feel free to tweet me or leave a comment - I'll do my best to make it happen!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Same Lunch, Different Eaters

Here's a lunch that we had at home last week. My 4.5 year old has become kind of resistant to cold greens of all kinds, but I'm OK with that, since she still watches me sometimes eat huge salads, and she'll still happily eat spinach or kale as part of a warm dish.

The above lunch demonstrates how you can create two distinct lunches without changing your actual game plan a whole lot. The only material difference is - her lunch has a cut up white potato, while mine has a pile of greens. I had my kitchen shears at the ready for much of the prep, and to each of our bowls I added:

  • Sliced red and yellow pepper
  • Sliced carrots
  • Sliced grassfed steak
  • Pistachios (mine, for the salad)
  • Sliced baby zucchini (mine, for the salad)
  • Homemade avocado ranch, drizzled on my salad, but in the littlest compartment for my daughter to dip her veggies

Have you turned your massive salad into a more tactile kid friendly lunch before? How'd you do it?

$10 Off Any Coupon Buys Two 1 lb. Jars Sunbutter for $5.82, Shipped

The limited time $10 off any purchase coupon is still available. One way that you can redeem this $10 coupon is to order two 16 oz. jars of Sunbutter - a nut-free paleo-friendly butter, for a total of only $5.82.

Here's how to score a great deal on this sunbutter:
  • Go claim your $10 off any Vitacost purchase coupon. The coupon will be emailed to you.
  • Optional step: In the meantime, head over to and search for Vitacost. You'll get 4% cash back on your purchase when you click to through the ebates vitacost store link.
  • Search Vitacost for "Sunbutter". Select the 16 oz. jar for $5.41, and add two of the jars to your cart for a total of $10.82.
  • Check out and use the $10 off any purchase source code that was emailed to you in the "Source Code" field during the checkout process.
  • Your total will be $0.82 + $4.99 shipping + tax (if applicable, depending on your state). The grand total will be at or around $5.81. for both jars, shipped. (Compare - at its very cheapest Sunbutter runs $4.59/jar on Amazon, and that's when you're forced to buy a 6-pack, so this Vitacost transaction is quite a deal on sunbutter.)
Is Sunbutter a staple at your home? What else would you like to get with a $10 off any purchase coupon?

This post contains affiliate links to Vitacost Rewards and ebates. Shopping through these links results in Primal Kitchen receiving a referral bonus at no cost to you - thank you for supporting Primal Kitchen! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Coconut Oil Shipped for $4.99 with $10 Off Any Purchase Vitacost Coupon

I just learned that Vitacost also has coconut oil - many varieties in fact. There are several that are under $10, which means that you can use the $10 off any Vitacost purchase coupon that I first described in this post, leaving you to pay only the shipping of $4.99.

This includes my brand of choice (which I usually buy from Amazon), Nutiva. On Amazon, a 15 oz. tub of Nutiva is $7.24, but using the $10 coupon on Vitacost will get the same size shipped to you for $4.99 - a price that you'll be hard-pressed to beat. To learn how I ran my Vitacost deal (and to understand how you could do it similarly for any under-$10 coconut oil sold by Vitacost), see this post.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lunchbox #143

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Mini peppers stuffed with chili (there was 1 lb. of liver to 5 lb. of ground beef in this version)
  • Medjool dates and pistachios
  • Whole fat yoghurt topped with unsweetened chocolate shavings and sliced almonds


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lunchbox #142

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Fresh pepper strips with homemade avocado ranch dip
  • Strips of grassfed steak
  • An apple
  • Mascarpone with blueberries (frozen, they thawed in the lunch) and cacao nibs


Monday, November 14, 2011

$10 Off ANY Purchase Coupon At Vitacost = Ridiculously Cheap Coconut Oil Based 5000 IU Vitamin D3

At Vitacost there is currently a $10 coupon available, good on any purchase. The great news is that shipping is fairly cheap at $4.95, so if you need something that's close to $10, you'd get it for about half the price with this coupon.

I redeemed this $10 coupon to get two bottles of Country Life Vitamin D3 Softgels - a 200 ct., which is $5.39. Vitamin D3 supplementation is worth considering, especially if like me, you don't get as much sunshine during the wintertime as you'd like, and the coupon made two bottles ship to my door for just $5.77 - about two and a half bucks cheaper than just one bottle is going for on Amazon right now. Great deal!

Here's how to score a great deal on these Vitamin D3 softgels:

  • Go claim your $10 off any Vitacost purchase coupon. The coupon will be emailed to you.
  • In the meantime, head over to and search for Vitacost. You'll get 4% cash back on your purchase when you click to through the ebates vitacost store link.
  • Search Vitacost for "Vitamin D3". Select the 200 count of the Country Life Vitamin D3 5000 IU softgels, and add two of the bottles priced $5.39 to your cart for a total of $10.78.
  • Check out and use the $10 off any purchase source code that was emailed to you in the "Source Code" field during the checkout process.
  • Your total will be $0.78 + $4.99 shipping + tax (if applicable, depending on your state). In my case the grand total was $5.77 for both bottles, shipped. (Just one bottle of the same on Amazon runs $8.29, by comparison!)

For more on Vitamin D3 supplementation check out this thread and related threads on PaleoHacks; it's worth noting that Nephropal's Billy recommends the Country Life brand because they are coconut oil medium chain triglyceride based.

Are you supplementing with Vitamin D this winter - or are there other supplements or health products you'd like to track down on Vitacost with your $10 off any purchase coupon?

This post contains affiliate links to Vitacost Rewards and ebates. Shopping through these links results in Primal Kitchen receiving a referral bonus at no cost to you - thank you for supporting Primal Kitchen! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Be Not Afraid

I've had this phrase in my head a while now...I don't know why, but it's been whispered to me (by the Holy Spirit?) many times over. Most memorably, Mary heard it from the angel that God sent, "Be not afraid!", but it appears as a reassuring phrase from God frequently throughout the Bible.

That phrase is stuck to me like a catchy song, and I'm finding it extra soothing, particularly since we're on the brink of the holiday season; it's helping me to mentally cut through the fluff and know that God will sustain us through what matters most.

Yesterday we had Veteran's Day holiday hours at my Crossfit box -- so instead of rising at 5 a.m. as I normally do, I slept in a bit and then left the girls with my husband to head over a midmorning WOD.

There was a heavy lifting workout, and a hero workout. As I understand it, each of the hero workouts are specifically created for and named after a serviceman or servicewoman whose life was lost for the sake of serving our country. Crossfit HQ and the individual boxes are very diligent about honoring servicemembers, and particularly those who have perished while serving their countries. Sadly, I wish that I could say that there weren't as many hero workouts as there are. My heartfelt thanks go out to the veterans - those still here and those we remember - who regularly faced their fears in service to their country. In large part owing to their dedication, we need not be afraid.

Since I had done 4 aerobic-style workouts Monday-Thursday, this time I chose to lift heavy. It's the first heavy lifting workout I've had in a while where I didn't have a partner alternating reps with me, so I kind of soaked up the extra time and solitude to focus on my form, how I really felt during my reps, whether I could do more. I was supposed to do a single squat, as seen below, 7 times:

...I was supposed to end on the 7th rep at or close to my max -- but to keep going until my max if I wasn't there by the 7th rep. Since it was my first weighted back squat session, I had no idea what would be my theoretical max.

I started with 55 lb. (including the 35 lb. bar), adding increments of 5 lb. at a time, and ended the 7th rep at 80 lb. or so. I knew that I wasn't even close to my max by then, so the weight kept coming on.

By about 125 lb. I asked my instructor (who'd been a few steps away overseeing the others doing the hero workout) to come watch me to do a single rep at 125 lb. to make sure that I was keeping up my form despite the climbing weight. My instructor - who herself probably weighs less than 125 lb. - said, "You're strong! You're not even struggling! You can lift more than that."

By my 15th (!) rep I was using the 45 lb. bar (at my instructor's suggestion) squatting a total of 140 lb., which I called my max for the day.

I thought about it: I was back squatting more than I weighed in high school. I was backsquatting 16-year-old me and then some. Were I not so tired from the previous 14 reps, I might have even been able to squat more. My instructor asked for my final number and even threw an exclamation point behind the poundage that she wrote next to my name on the whiteboard.

Even though I was a bit nervous about adding more weight, her encouragement had pushed me through that mental block of 125 lb. to an additional 15 lb. above that. Be not afraid. You can do this!

Would that all of my strength gains were so measurable.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lunchbox #141

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Corned beef, wrapped around slices of red pepper
  • Quartered grapes
  • Chocolate avocado mousse, topped with chopped pistachios
  • Sliced zucchini, with homemade ranch to dip

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lunchbox #140

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • A pear
  • Leftover pastured beef pot roast
  • Sweet potatoes, mashed with pastured butter, topped with pistachios
  • Sliced yellow squash, with mustard on the side for dipping

Part Deux: Acquiring More Traditional Food Skills

Fall 2011 is apparently setting up to be the fall when I learn a zillion new-to-me traditional food methods. Though I had no real planned-well-in-advance agenda to do this some of these, impromptu tutorials are just falling into my path, sometimes so spontaneously that all I can use to capture the moments is my Droid. Cases in point:

  • You know it's good bone broth when it stays perfectly
    gelled, even when held upside down.
    All that collagen, wahoo!
    Homemade Bone Broth - from Chicken Feet! I received a HUGE zip bag of chicken feet from my farmer - for FREE. I couldn't believe my luck - there were probably at least 60 feet from recently slaughtered/scalded chickens. Having read A Slim Winter's chicken feet broth post just before this, I knew that I could possibly make some decent broth. After a couple of batches I really got the hang of it, even going so far the second round as to add apple cider vinegar to help extract more nutrients from the bones and cartilage - and I used my kitchen shears to trim off the talons so that more of the bone marrow could be exposed and thus extracted during the simmering. I was rewarded with a super rich broth that was thick and gelatinous when chilled, and comforting all the way down when warmed in a mug. If you find yourself on the receiving end of some inexpensive or free chicken feet, GO for it! You will love the broth that results.

  • Mad kefir makin' skillz. I met another primal / paleo person IN THE FLESH. First nononline paleo person I've ever met! I was ridiculously excited; we happened to be buying the same creamline whole milk from our farmer when we ran into each other. It turns out that she has a couple of traditional foodie friends as well, one of whom has a way with homemade kefir. We are going to get a kefir making/storage tutorial from said expert later next week. Wahoo! (Meanwhile, this week I found out another superstrong gal at my Crossfit box eats paleo, that makes two in-the-flesh folks I know. Maybe enough momentum for a pot luck at some point! ;-p )

    Zee half cow, deconstructed.
  • Half cow freezin', with plans for tallow renderin'. Our household's first ever local, bulk bought beef purchase came home with us on Monday. We were totally bewildered by the quantity of meat from our order of half a cow. I was giddy because beside the usual offerings of ground beef, roasts, stew meat, and steaks, the butcher had made sure at my request that we received every possible scrap - soup bones, heart, liver, tongue, and (drumroll!) a huge pack of beef fat (note to self, look up tallow rendering, apparently my next on the skillz-to-learn docket...). Normally I avoid beef fat in conventionally raised animals, but the beef AND fat of a carefully raised pastured-only cow is super valuable nutritionally and a wonderfully healthy fuel.  I was keen on getting my money's worth and not letting go of any of that offal, bone, and fat nutrition (all of which, according to my farmer, is often left behind by his customers).

  • Homemade ranch dip. Delicious.
    Make it in a jar to make mixing easy!
  • Mark's Daily Apple's Creamy Ranch Dressing. We had assigned snack duty for my daughter's preschool last week, and the requested items were carrots and celery sticks and ranch dip. I was so glad to find out from Paleo Periodical on Twitter (thanks, Karen!!) that MDA had this dip - after tasting it I realized how much I had missed the flavor of ranch. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil can dress only so many salads, apparently. I'm looking forward to having this recipe in my regular rotation to drizzle on steak salads and scrambled eggs.

What new recipes and traditional food skills are you learning right now?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lunchbox #139

Today, my preschooler's lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • Eggs scrambled with dill and cheese
  • Red pepper strips
  • Sliced cheese
  • Almonds candied with a bit of pastured butter and honey
  • Orange slices

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lunchbox #138

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):
  • A cheddar cheese and chive omelette
  • Whole milk organic yoghurt with a bit of raw honey
  • Slices of fresh pepper
  • Homemade ranch dip


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lunchbox #137

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):
  • Butter and olive oil sauteed whiting with oregano (I thought this was delicious, but it was a FAIL - came home barely touched by my preschooler...)
  • Sliced peppers and whole milk mozzarella, dressed with olive oil and a bit of sea salt
  • Banana pudding topped with cacao nibs
  • Soft-cooked sweet potato with butter


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lunchbox #136

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Silver dollar sized grain free banana pancakes
  • Fresh organic gala apple
  • Coconut oil sauteed plantains
  • Asparagus with salt and garlic


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life on the Brink of the Holiday Season: Studies in Indulgence, After a Month of Crossfit

We carved a pumpkin, and my azalea bush sprouted
a blossom the same week. Make up your mind, weather!
I'm living life at light speed right now. It's one of those times when the months blow by but each day can feel paradoxically slow.

My 22 month old is going through a sudden and fairly intense bout of separation anxiety. I was kinda resisting it for a while, but now I'm accepting of this phase where noone else but Momma will do. Thus, my only true 'me' time in a given day is usually my early morning Crossfit - thankfully that is enough to give me a mental head start on everything else, including managing my sweet permaclinging girl.

My 4 year old is reveling in preschool activities - and the excitement of the upcoming holidays. I'm trying to maintain a sense of humor while planning a little bit of damage control on this 10 week long season of treats -- hence my willingness to flex and make a few more paleo treats here and there like the gluten free grain free soul cakes. I don't want to clamp down so tightly (full on orthodox paleo) that sugar or other baked naturally sweetened treats become irresistible forbidden fruits in the long term, you know? So my goal for this upcoming Halloween through New Year's is to make extra efforts to craft most of the treats we'll enjoy at home, with my 4 year old's help wherever possible, so that I can use those times as a teachable moment in talking about why we use the ingredients we do, what the traditions are behind the treats, and so on. Call them studies in indulgence.

Finally, I just wrapped my first month at Crossfit. Every weekday I am going through the ringer, and I love it. Am I still one of the slowest ones in the class? Of course! But I'm also noticing little things:

  • Since I'm not jumping or running to give my ankle (which I sprained a few weeks back before Crossfit started) full recovery time, I'm doing squats to substitute for double unders, and rowing to sub for running. And whadya know? Since I'm squatting instead of jumproping and we already do plenty of airsquats anyway, I'm suddenly (go figure) finding my squats are vastly improving. An 4 minute 20-seconds on 10-seconds-off tabata round of squats the other day yielded 17 or 18 squats per 20 second set.
  • Though the scale isn't budging much, a fellow Crossfitter remarked to us newbies that we were looking more toned already. Also, my jeans are fitting a lot better. Wahoo! I'll take it!
  • I don't wake up feeling atrophied and "creaky" anymore - though there's delayed onset muscle soreness in areas we've worked particularly thoroughly, my mornings kick off feeling all-around more loose and energized head to toe, with much less creaking and popping!
  • Stuff that used to have me out of breath, like hauling my 30 lb. + sleeping toddler up the stairs, no longer do, and in fact are feeling much easier to do.
I'm so glad to have a jump start on getting fit as the onslaught of indulgent foods and sedentary indoor activities approaches, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next month of Crossfit!

How are YOU mentally and physically preparing to dive into the holidays?


Friday, October 28, 2011

How I Scored Kids' Merrell Barefoot Shoes (Retail $60) for $34.95, Shipped Free

The deals are flying this weekend, it seems! Only the beginning of the holiday crush of sales, I suppose.

Here is the pair I got for $35.
Today there is a very hot deal on Plum District which I just used to snag Merrell's barefoot shoes for my oldest daughter for $34.95. These shoes normally retail for $60 and I have never found them for much cheaper than that! Since I wear my adult versions of these shoes all the time (including for Crossfit and just running errands), I knew that it was likely that she will get lots of wear out of them. I love that they are zero dropped (most natural toe/heel positioning without unnecessary added cushioning) and sport a thin but durable Vibram sole, so I know that they will let my daughter's feet be more in touch with the ground beneath them.

I bought them a size up from her current size so that she can grow into them in the next couple of months and hopefully through the spring, when we get back outside for trail exploration at local parks.

Here's how to score these $60 shoes for $34.95, shipped free to your door:

Here's one of the pairs of the boys' version!
  • Go to Plum District's deal for today: $20 for a $40 voucher at Use the code SPOOKY30 when checking out to get 30% off the voucher price, making it just $14 for the $40 voucher. You can buy up to three of these vouchers in one Plum District transation using that coupon code - to use in three separate Online Shoes transactions, so if you have multiple kids or shoes needed, consider that - and use your coupon code for all three vouchers.
  • If you'd like an additional 5% cash back on your purchase, go to and search for "". Click through the Online Shoes link to get to - so you will get back 5% of the money spent at posted to your ebates account.
  • Once you're at Online Shoes, search for "Merrell Barefoot" and browse the kids' options. Choose your style and size and add it to your cart.
  • In a separate browser tab or window, go back to Plum District's site and click "My Account" in the upper right hand corner to access your voucher coupon code that you purchased. Copy the voucher code.
  • Go back to your Online Shoes window to check out. Redeem your voucher code to get $40 off the purchase price. In my case this left $20.95 (of which 5%, or about $1.05 will be posted to your ebates account if you clicked through ebates).
  • Grand total spent = $14 + $20.95 = $34.95! Shipping is free.

Are you looking at barefoot shoes for yourself, your spouse, or your kids as a holiday gift?
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