Friday, November 30, 2012

Primal Kitchen Makes Top 50 Paleo Blogs Per Institute for Psychology of Eating

I recently learned that Primal Kitchen made the list of the Top 50 Paleo Blogs of 2012. It is a distinct privilege to be counted among such good company.

The Institute of the Psychology of Eating is not a paleo-based organization - it is more broadly based in the concept of holistic health through nutrition. I want to give special thanks to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating for creating a list of paleo-based blogs!


Lunchbox #192

Today, my kindergartner's lunchbox featured (clockwise from left):

  • About 1/2 oz. of chicken Braunschweiger from U.S. Wellness Meats
  • A 100 calorie pack of guacamole
  • An organic carrot...for some reason my 5 year old finds it really hilarious to have a huge, whole peeled carrot. Whatever has her eating her veggies, I say!
  • Some preservative free salami
  • A Bubbies pickle
  • An organic apple
  • A couple of maple flax crackers, some raisins, and a few chocolate chips
So thankful it's Friday!

What was in your lunchbox today?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paleo Magazine's "Best of 2012" Survey

Paleo Magazine's "Best of 2012" Survey is here!

I'm so touched - and so, so honored - that Primal Kitchen made the list of nominees for the category "Paleo Parenting Site."

If Primal Kitchen has been useful to you in your paleo journey while searching for some real food parenting answers, could you take a moment of time to vote for this site? The voting ends Friday, November 30.

I want to give big hugs to all of you who comment, all of you that I get to meet on Twitter - it is because of the strength of the paleo community that I've been able to persevere in and share our family's real food adventures.

I am thankful for every single one of my readers and fellow bloggers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Best Cupcake Wrappers for Paleo Recipes

I'm in Day 2 of this 28 day sugar detox. There's nothing like a nutrition challenge to make me realize how mindlessly I can sometimes bites I steal of my girls' apple chips when packing their lunches.

I've done a lot of nutrition and paleo challenges, both by myself and with my Crossfit box, but this is the first time I've actively avoided fruit. It does sound kind of extreme, but I still get some carbs from nonfruit sources like butternut squash. I'm also planning on taking in some coconut water (I dilute it half and half with filtered water) during and after hot yoga sessions. If I were Crossfitting or otherwise tackling intense exercise, I'd be following the sugar detox for athletes protocol, which involves strategically adding a little more carbs in the form of fruit or starchy veggies.

Day 2 of a challenge can be brutal - I'm wading through serious headache territory, but thankfully I know enough that by this time next week I should be doing much better. In the meantime I'm keeping myself going with continuous meats, eggs, veggies, and healthy fats.

One of my favorite "to-go" low carb breakfasts involves using preservative free ham as a cupcake liner, cracking an egg inside the ham "cup", and baking. The ham is out for me at the moment during this challenge, though, since it does have some trace amounts turbinado sugar.

This brings me to my favorite paleo baking tool: unbleached paper cupcake liners (and parchment paper, and pie pans, and mini muffin liners) by If You Care. Besides being available in bulk on  Amazon and in single packages from Vitacost, they are also available in Wegmans, Giant, and many other major grocery store chains. I was thrilled when their unbleached paper pie pans helped me to make my first successful GAPS and gluten free pumpkin pie crusts - because for the first time in 3 years of paleo pie-baking the crusts didn't stick or burn to the pan!

No matter what texture is going on, I can always count on If You Care liners to break away from my baked item cleanly without tearing apart and destroying the end product. Yes, even in the case of just eggs! When I want to make something extra pretty - like for a birthday party - I sometimes add a brightly colored conventional cupcake wrapper on the outside of these modest beige ones, after the treats have cooled.

This morning's project:

  • Set oven to 425 to preheat.
  • Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Crack one egg into each liner.
  • Sprinkle eggs with a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt.
  • Add a slice or two of mushrooms, and a couple of 1/2" pieces of asparagus.
  • Optional and delicious, if you have it: crumbled bacon.
  • Change oven setting to broil at 425F.
  • Broil 15 minutes (or 3 minutes less if you want your egg/yolk a little runny).
Luckily, these are GAPS diet friendly, too, so my 2 year old had some with a GAPS-OK liverwurst and guacamole for her second breakfast!

What low carb breakfasts have you tried out lately?

This post contains affiliate links to Vitacost and Amazon. 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 24, 2012

Damage Control During the Holidays

Starting Monday, I'm doing a 4 week sugar detox. Why? Oh, why, why, why, why, why would any person in their right mind do a sugar detox in December?!

That's why. Because if I don't challenge myself in December, I eat anything gluten free that looks remotely appetizing, and come out the other end in a disoriented sugar haze, having gained weight. Last December, I did things differently - I was challenging myself, and I came out of the holiday season lighter. Could never before have said I had managed that!

My nutrition/weight goals are still modest this holiday season - I'm mainly hoping to break even, and simply avoid fat gain. Though I'll be sugar detoxing, my activity levels will be rather involuntarily lowered. During the Thanksgiving Day WOD at my Crossfit box, a persistent back issue cropped up again. It's something that I can't shake, even having seen a chiropractor and having gotten an MRI courtesy of my local orthopedist's office. Over the last couple of months I've continued to scale way, way down...first it was no heavy weights...then no even rowing seems to have triggered the same back issue, so I'm to the point where I don't know what I can do workout-wise at Crossfit.

For me the main thing is this: I am mother to a 35 lb. human cannonball, aka my almost-3-year-old daughter who has sensory processing disorder. This child is in perpetual motion, and I need to be able to keep her safe walking through parking lots, able to pick her up out of her car seat and put her in shopping carts, take her to occupational therapy appointments, where I help to put her on swings and other therapy equipment. I cannot afford to have back pain in my day-to-day life, because my daughter's safety and progress depends on me being ready handle her at a moment's notice.

So, as reluctant as I am to admit it to myself, it seems that I need to take a longer break from Crossfit than the 1 week here, a few days there I'd been taking whenever the pain flared up. I'm having to think through ways to make it through December with minimal damage to body comp while still letting my body heal.

Strategy 1 is AndreAnna's sugar detox. I thrive under the gentle yoke of accountability, and knowing that at least 50 other people have joined the detox will certainly keep me on the straight and narrow. Since I won't be burning carbs 5 days/week the way I usually do with WODing, I will need to keep the carbs fairly low this time.

Strategy 2 is hot yoga. I recently tried out the new yoga place that opened in our town. I have done both the regular yoga 101 and the hot yoga 101 classes, and have already a distinct preference for the hot yoga. It delivers very noticeable relief to my back issues - and I think this is because it almost resembles a string of Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD videos, only done in a heated room. It seems to really help to sort out that messed up tangle of hip flexors, piriformis, ligaments, SI joint, muscle, nerves, and discs. I'm hoping that I can integrate hot yoga in as a regular recuperative element in my workout routines.

I haven't figured out any good cardio or HIIT things that wouldn't aggravate my back, so for a while I may need to rely on lots and lots of walking. It certainly won't get me the same delicious heart-bursting rush that my beloved Crossfit does, but at least it will keep me moving and my body from shutting down.

What ways are you planning damage control during the next month?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The 100K Holiday Row

It started at our Crossfit box. Our coaches challenged us to row at least 100k between Thanksgiving and Christmas. No, not us all together. Us each. I dove in without a second thought.

Soon I was chatting about this flirtation with insanity on Twitter. Something about flirting with insanity appeals to Crossfitters; soon AndreAnna of Life As A Plate and Daniel of Grizzly Strong were committed - and AndreAnna's Crossfit gym members even committed to tie their rowing to a food bank donation with each milestone they hit in the coming weeks.

So, are you looking for an exercise challenge over the holidays? Do you have access to a rower? Are you in?

If so, comment here or ping us on Twitter. We'll be updating using hashtag #100kholidayrow.

ETA: I unfortunately reinjured an old back problem during the Thanksgiving WOD, so I probably won't be able to participate. I'm leaving this post here, though, for Crossfit and rowing enthusiasts who would still like to hear about it and learn how they can participate.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Notion of Different Parenting/Food Philosophies for Different Kids

I always thought I'd be able to apply the same nutrition principles and food philosophy with all of the kids I'd have.

Until lately.

Lately, I've been mulling where to give wiggle room. For my 2 year old, there is none. She has sensory processing disorder and speech/developmental delay, and is on a gluten free dairy free gut-healing diet.

But my 5 year old kindergartner? She is now coming up on halfway through her school year.  I've come to grudgingly admit that my glory days of packing her uncompromising real food lunches for preschool have to be adapted into a more self-aware social context. She's already reported to me that cafeteria tablemates have made fun of her Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs, teasing her by saying they look gross.

(Side note: Parents, can we all agree to train our kids to never make fun of other kids' lunches? I know it's hard to do, but it's worthwhile. Thanks very much.)

I've tried to continue the angle of her holding her own, saying that she should joke around with them that it's like she's eating slime, ewwwwwwwwww. Deviled eggs - seemed pretty innocuous to me - are also being reviled.

It's never been my goal for my kids to feel stifled by our dietary approach. I want my daughters to learn in concrete terms why we chose the foods that we do. I also try not to condemn foods wholesale, but to refer to foods as being along a spectrum in terms of healthfulness, and asking about what healthier choices might exist.

That said, lately I've given my 5 year old more of an 80/20 approach. Since she eats lunches away from her sister during the school day, she might get a handful of 6 or 7 gluten free pretzels in her lunch once a week, or once in a great while a tetrapack single serving of chocolate almond milk. I even had a day a couple of weeks ago when I packed her a slice of Chebe pizza leftover from a weekend gathering with grandparents -- and it so happened that pizza was on the menu in the lunchroom. I think these minor concessions go a long way to helping her to feel more like her friends without compromising too much.

How to you work the 80/20 angle for your kids' lunches? Do you have a household where different food standards apply among your kids based on their individual physiological and social/emotional needs?

Thanksgiving Challenge: THANK Your Grocer

Front and center:
Organic grassfed beef, $5.99/lb.
It does not specifically say "grass-finished",
but in my view this is Giant responding
to market demand, so it is a good thing,
grass-finished or no.
I know of lots of paleo-leaning folks who have managed to arrive at near or total self-sufficiency - they raise their own meat, own egg-laying chickens, and grow Martha Stewart photo op worthy produce.

Me? So not there. I'd like to keep learning ways to do things on my own. For now, though, I still rely heavily on grocery stores in my neighborhood to keep us going. In addition, I rely on Amazon, Vitacost, and US Wellness Meats to supplement what I haven't managed to source steadily, locally.

In the past year we've bought 2 halves of grassfed cows from a couple of local farmers. Now, our freezer is just running bare, save a few packages of offal that I need to tackle. Imagine my great delight, then when I was strolling through Giant today and saw ORGANIC GRASSFED BEEF on the shelves! I was so delerious...there may or may not have been dancing. Right away I ran to the closest section manager and like a rockstar's giddy fan-girl, blubbered my irrational level of gratefulness for Giant now carrying organic grassfed beef.

At checkout, I also thanked the cashier, a sweet lady that I see in Giant all the time. I know that she probably had nothing to do with the beef now being stocked, but I believe that every positive remark has to stand out against a steady tide of grumbling in the grocery business.

I have a little challenge for you guys. This next week, if you have a grocery store visit planned before Thanksgiving, think about at least one thing you love about that grocery store. It is Thanskgiving week - people are out there feeling rushed, stressed, and impatient for PIE. Make an effort to be one little beam of sunshine for your cashier, for your grocery store manager. Show them kindness and encourage them for what they're doing really well. Track down the customer service comment box and write a positive note about how an employee's helpfulness made your shopping trip easier. It just might make their day!

Have you said, "Thank you!" to someone at your local grocery store lately?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mainstream Pediatrics Addresses Gut Health in Autism Spectrum Children

This last weekend, a friend who is an occupational therapist alerted me to this: "Gastrointestinal Conditions in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Developing a Research Agenda". It was an article hot off the presses in the November 2012 issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics' monthly magazine Pediatrics.

In short, this article represents America's pediatricians coming to a consensus about deteriorated gut health and autism spectrum disorders being linked and real. The article even uses "gut-brain connection" and "leaky gut" - terms that in years past were relegated to the category of desperate parents' and quacks' "crazy talk".

The article's information and content were not new to me...I've been independently exploring and applying those research concepts for well over a year on behalf of my youngest daughter, who has sensory processing disorder and speech delay.

Here, then, is the significance: This magazine serves as mainstream pediatrics' voice.
Addressing gut health in autism spectrum disorder kids has now been prioritized. Consequently, any parent who asks their pediatrician questions about their ASD kids' diet should not be brushed off or dismissed, but instead earnestly, constructively engaged. While our own family doctor has been very supportive of our efforts to maintain my daughter's diet, I frequently come into contact with other parents whose doctors' reactions to suggested diet changes range from indifference to condemnation. Often, due to limitations in geographic availability or insurance coverage, such doctors remain the only option for these families. Now, though, the parents can discuss with their children's doctors the options for dietary changes with the American Academy of Pediatrics' backing.

I felt tears well a bit in my eyes when I read this article. It is a major breakthrough for parents who are trying to support their children's neurodevelopmental progress through a cleaned-up diet. I encourage you to print out this article and give it to your loved ones who are parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders - because as many of us will testify, change in diet is the foundation to the rest of the therapies and progress these kids can hope to tackle.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hot Deal: Organic Gluten Free Coconut Flour at Rock Bottom Prices!

Something flickered on my radar today as I was shopping Vitacost to restock on cod liver oil. It turns out that there is a deal on Let's Do Organic! Coconut Flour - the currently listed price is $3.65 for a 16 oz. bag. I can't remember the last time I saw organic gluten free coconut flour that cheap. (I usually see 1 lb. bags of coconut flour in the $5-$10 range, as a point of reference.) At the rate I've been baking lately with the cold temps, coconut flour is becoming our household's hottest commodity.

If you haven't bought from Vitacost before, you can get $10 free credit just for signing up (sign up is free) for their Vitacost Rewards. This $10 credit is good on purchases of $30 or more.

Here's one way to work a deal so that you can get that coconut flour even more cheaply.
  1. Go create a Vitacost Rewards account to claim the $10 free credit, and make sure that the credit redemption code is emailed to you.

    Optional step: Using your ebates account (creating one is free), be sure to click to through ebates to get 4% cash back on your Vitacost purchase.
  2. Once at, search for "Let's Do Organic Coconut Flour." Add three bags to your shopping cart. Your cart total will be $10.95 for the coconut flour; you will need $19.05 worth of other items to reach the $30 required to use the $10 credit.

    Vitacost is a great resource for vitamins and supplements, but also for as other inexpensively priced gluten free baking staples like extra virgin coconut oil, almond flour, and raw honey. You can get a 54 oz. tub of extra virgin coconut oil for a little over $20, for one suggestion.
  3. On your shopping cart page, their is a promo code window at the top. Enter your $10 code into that window and redeem.
  4. Proceed through the checkout process. You'll also get 4% cash back on that if you went through ebates.
This price an absolutely unbeatable deal for three 1 lb. bags of coconut flour! How do you think you'd use the flour for your baking projects this month?

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 1, 2012

Paleo and Primal Natural Disaster Pantry Prepping: Building a Stockpile of Nonperishables

I realize that golfing and hang-gliding may also be strong contenders for this title, but earlier this week, while waiting out the storm, I unofficially dubbed the combination of disaster preparation with a paleo lifestyle as potentially one of the most expensive hobbies I could imagine.

Of course, if you're really, really invested in getting back to nature, maybe you've got some ammo and/or some good crossbow equipment stowed away; you've probably already learned how to use it and gone on a few hunting trips. You're probably also the type to have read all of the memoirs of Bear Grylls and Les Stroud, and also multiple books on the edible flora and fauna of your region's ecology. If that's the case, then you might be set preparation-wise. (And incidentally, can we talk? Because I might want to be BFFs with you if a catastrophe goes down.)

Me, though? I'm still just 2.5 years into this whole foods lifestyle - that's still not so long that I don't remember my pre-paleo disaster prep shopping trips, which involved bagged/sliced bread, cereal, and other processed foods. In fact, rumor has it that Americans' buying patterns on average spike for beer and Pop-Tarts when a storm approaches. By now, I've been through a few inclement weather sessions in the last two and a half years - enough to get a better idea for how fast our family might go through certain staples, and to know what makes for good eats in the absence of power.

As the initial warnings about Hurricane Sandy started to reach a steady hum last Friday morning, I headed to Wegmans with my youngest daughter. Meat and produce filled my cart...but yes, also a couple of carefully selected treats - as in, the kind I might indulge in once every couple of months - hard apple cider, and one pack of gluten free dairy free cookie dough.. (It was, after all, supposed to be the storm of the century!) The handy thing about being trapped at home in a storm was that limited indulgences remained limited; it's not as though I was able to drive 20 minutes through all manner of rain and wind to Wegmans to get more cookie dough. When that batch of cookies was gone, it was (sniff!) gone.

Thankfully, despite my jokes about paleo disaster prepping seeming expensive, it doesn't need to be. It undeniably costs more than creating a stockpile of pasta and cereal, but there are a lot of ways to save money on paleo-friendly nonperishables. Amazon saves our family time and money because we buy a lot of these nonperishables through its Subscribe & Save program, which delivers directly to our doorstep on intervals that we chose. Using this program, we've gradually built a nice stockpile of nonperishable paleo-friendly staples that have been complementing the fresh foods I grabbed at Wegmans - including many that work with my 2 year old's GAPS diet, too. Almost all of our nonperishables have been bought at the lowest prices I've been able to find online or in stores, via's Subscribe and Save program. Often the Subscribe & Save items come in bulk quantities, which has saved us a lot of money over the long run, especially when compared to the marked up retail prices on individual packages at the store. We don't receive these items every month - they are each on a staggered schedule, so we might get one item every other month, or another item every 6 months, all depending on our family's ability to use it up and our food budgeting priorities.

Here are some of the nonperishable items we've bought and enjoyed in the past that are available on Subscribe and Save:

Nonperishable Snack Foods and Lunchbox Staples*, nice for when power is out:
*One of our daughter's schools has a nut-free cafeteria but a nut-OK classroom; the other's school does not exclude nuts at all. Sunbutter, apple chips, and raisins are just some of the nut-free choices out there. Remember to shop according to your particular lunchtime destinations' parameters and your family's own dietary needs.

Nonperishable Bulk Baking and Cooking Supplies:
Convenience/Transition Nonperishables:

Oils for Dressings, Sauces, and Mayos

What primal and paleo nonperishables have you been stocking in your pantry? After Hurricane Sandy, are you planning on stocking your pantry in case of more inclement weather later this winter?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Shopping Amazon through Primal Kitchen affiliate links supports Primal Kitchen at no additional cost to you, so thank you!!
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