Tag Archives: paleo

What is ‘Paleo’? The Common Myths of the Paleo Diet

I’ve been hearing a lot about the paleo diet recently; it seems to be popping up everywhere! Makes sense because this pre-agricultural, clean-eating approach has a huge tribe: In 2015, paleo-certified foods sales exceeded $750 million, according to Nutrition Business Journal. I wanted to learn more about the paleo lifestyle, started doing some research and came across some great info from Delicious Living. Today we are going to be taking a look at what is means to eat paleo and debunk some of the common myths associated with it.  What is 'Paleo'?Nutrition is always a hot topic. New ideas and meal plans are popping up every day. There are so many ‘diets’ and eating styles out there, how do you know which one is ‘the one’?? Even more than that, how do you even know which one(s) to try? It all starts with research. Often times with research, you can figure out if it is even something you would be interested in.
If you want to talk more about diet, exercise, and/or nutrition, set up a discovery call & let’s chat! I can help you find the right plan for you and/or help you find a workout that will get you results!

Before we dive in, I’d like to mention: different things work for different people. I always encourage my clients to try something long enough to give it a fair chance. If it doesn’t work for you, that is okay. If you already have a workout or way of eating that works for you, keep doing that. No need jump to the latest ‘thing’ if you already found something that works for you. 
I should also mention that this is not a plug for the paleo diet. I’m just sharing information about it so people, including myself, can be more informed. 🙂 I personally do not eat a strict paleo diet. Since I am allergic to gluten, I find myself making a lot of paleo recipes. Check out my paleo granola recipe! paleo granola

What Does Paleo Mean?

 

The premise of the paleolithic (paleo) diet is simple: Eat only foods that existed during the hunter-gatherer era. That means grass-fed meats and wild fish, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds (including their healthy oils), while excluding all dairy, legumes and grains.

Paleo: Common Myths
paleo1-meatMYTH
: The paleo diet means you only eat meat—and lots of it.

TRUTH: Not necessarily. Although paleo certainly emphasizes low-carb, high-protein foods, some adherents focus on nonstarchy, green, leafy vegetables and try to reduce or even eliminate meat (yes, paleo veganism is a thing). One protein-rich, paleo-friendly plant option: hemp seed, which—though it’s not a complete protein—does contain more protein by weight than grass-fed beef.

TRY: Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts

paleo2-healthyMYTH: The paleo diet isn’t healthy.

TRUTH: On the contrary, recent studies point to Western reliance on starchy carbs and sugar, not fat and protein, as the primary culprit behind chronic illnesses like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. As with anything, you will want to watch portions and make sure you eat a balanced diet. Research also shows that eating plenty of fruits and veggies is excellent for health, in any diet. In addition to meat’s benefits, paleo eaters tout easy-to-make (or buy) bone broth for its purported gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory properties. 

TRY: Bare Bones 100% Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth Classic

paleo3-expensiveMYTH: The paleo diet is expensive.

TRUTH: If you slap nothing but bacon-wrapped beef fillets on your plate, then yes, the costs will add up. But before humans hunted animals, they subsisted on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—typically the lowest cost-per-calorie foods on the planet. Make those the centerpiece of an affordable and nutritious paleo diet, and occasionally incorporate lean, grass-fed meats.

TRY: Wonderfully Raw Brussel Bytes Chili Pumpkin Seed

paleo4-boringMYTH: The paleo diet is boring.

TRUTH: Hardly. With nearly the entire plant and meat world at their disposal, paleo enthusiasts enjoy delightfully inventive dishes and versatile condiments, such as mayo made from avocado instead of canola or soy. And when the sugar comes from fruit, dates, coconut or maple, you can have your chocolate and eat it, too.

TRY: Primal Kitchen Mayo; Hu Crunchy Fig Chocolate Bar

paleo5-crossfitMYTH: The paleo diet is only for CrossFit fanatics.

TRUTH: It’s true that you’ll find a lot of paleo products at Crossfit gyms and competitions. But according to Nutrition Business Journal, the typical paleo eater isn’t a CrossFitter, but rather a middle-aged, affluent woman trying to boost athletic performance, lose weight or combat a health problem.

paleo6-environmentMYTH: The paleo diet is environmentally irresponsible.

TRUTH: Actually, the paleo movement evangelizes a return to humane, regenerative food and land practices. “Hooves on the ground are essential to grassland health,” says Sarah Gleason of the Savory Institute, a grassland restoration nonprofit. “Properly managed livestock that mimic large, wild herds help restore the land and sequester carbon.” Next-gen paleo: products made from less-used animal parts to create incentives for responsible ranchers.

TRY: Epic Bars

So, there you have it – the paleo diet in a nutshell along with some paleo friendly snacks and food suggestions. 🙂 I hope this information helped you learn a little more about what eating paleo means. If you want to talk more about nutrition, let’s chat. I’d love to help you find something that works for you! contact me here: thesweetblondesfitlife (at) gmail (dot) com

How to Make Gluten & Grain Free Paleo Granola

Granola is like trail mix – I’d rather make my own and decided what to put in it and what to leave out. It’s not fun to pick thru the mix to eat only what you want. It wastes both food and time. This lead me to come up with my own granola recipe, and *gasp* I left out the oats. This paleo granola is all nuts and seeds, zero grains, and it turned out delicious! IMG_9089

There are multiple benefits to making your own granola. You get to decide what goes in it & you can control the amount/type of sugar. Granola is usually pretty calorie dense on it’s own (meaning the serving size is small). Adding lots of sugar and sweeteners to this only makes it worse. Pre-packaged granola is usually full of sugar. There are lots more options now, but I still prefer to make my own. It also allows you to adjust ingredients based on allergies or dietary needs. IMG_9098

This granola only has naturally occurring sugar in it coming from honey. Your body digests this sugar differently because it is a natural source of sugar, so the insulin spike is not as great. As with anything, natural sources of sugar should  still be consumed in moderation. In granola recipes, honey is great to use for this reason because it also serves as a sticky ‘binder’ to help hold the granola together and create those delicious clusters. paleo granola

While I don’t eat a paleo diet, this recipe is paleo friendly. I loved the seed and nut combo in this recipe because it allows me to eat my carbs from other sources. The dried fruit and honey add some carbs, but this granola is high in fat and much lower in carbs compared to average granola. IMG_9096

You can switch up the dried fruit in this recipe depending on the season and what kind of fruit you like. I always recommend using unsweetened dried fruit, because fruit is naturally sweet!  I used golden berries which were delicious, but you could use anything. 

paleo granola twitterGluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Granola 

IMG_9091

Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Homemade Granola
Yields 1
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw walnuts
  2. 1 cup raw cashews
  3. 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 1/2 cup dried fruit (chopped) - I used golden berries, use whatever dried fruit you like
  6. 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  7. 1 T water
  8. 1.5 T coconut oil
  9. 1/4 cup honey
  10. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or with baking sheet liner.
  2. 2. Add first 3 ingredients to blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to chop the nuts, but do NOT grind into a fine meal.
  3. 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg white with water until bubbly and kinda foamy.
  4. 4. Melt the coconut oil in microwave.
  5. 5. Add melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon & salt to the egg white/water mix and whisk together well.
  6. 6. Pour the chopped nut mix into the mixing bowl, along with the dried fruit & shredded coconut. Stir everything to make sure it is well coated.
  7. 7. Spread the granola mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or untill browned and crispy. Stir once after 10 minutes.
  8. 8. Remove granola from oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. DO NOT STIR. This is when the delicious clusters are formed!
  9. 9. Use a spatula and lift granola to break into large pieces.
  10. 10. Once cool, store in a glass, air tight container
  11. 11. ENJOY!!
TIP
  1. ** Granola can go from done to burned very quickly. Be sure to watch it!
  2. Can sub honey for maple syrup to make the recipe vegan. Add 10 minutes to cooking time.
  3. Can sub olive oil or avocado oil for the coconut oil.
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/
Want to save this recipe for later? Pin this! paleo granola pin

 

Healthy Stuffed Peppers [GF, Dairy Free & Paleo friendly]

I made these stuffed peppers for dinner last week on a whim. They were amazing, so I had to share the recipe with you. Not only are they healthy, they are also extremely easy to throw together for a great weeknight meal.IMG_7239

I love to eat bell peppers, there are always a few in our fridge. I bought a few extra last week because I wanted to try to make some healthy stuffed peppers that were low carbs and had no dairy. I do not follow a low carb diet or a paleo diet; however this recipe suits both of those nutrition plans. Believe me, I love to eat carbs! It’s good to have options though because some days you want a lighter meal. 

IMG_7205I was intrigued by the idea of cauliflower rice and wanted to give it a whirl. My first attempt I totally failed. I tried again thanks to a few tips from my friend Hope, and it was a success! (my advice: use a blender instead of a food processor, much easier and not as messy!) I had seasoned the cauliflower with curry spices and cumin which is what gives it the color.

IMG_7232

GF, Dairy Free & Paleo – Healthy Stuffed Peppers

serves 4

4 bell peppers (any color)
1 pound ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
5-10 mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
handful of spinach, sliced into strips
2-4 cups of cauliflower rice 
coconut oil spray

  1. Heat skillet to medium. Spray with coconut oil (or other cooking oil spray) and sauté mushrooms and onions until onions become translucent – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add turkey to skillet and cook with mushrooms/onions until browned. 
  3. Add spinach and cauliflower rice to skillet with the turkey mushroom mixture and cook until spinach is wilted and turkey is cooked thru. 
  4. Hollow out the peppers and fill with stuffing mixture. Preheat oven to 350F and cook for 20-25 minutes or until peppers reach desired softness. 

pepper stuffinghealthy stuffed peppers 

Now all that is left to do is enjoy! 

I love these healthy stuffed peppers because they are so easy to make and are also a great way to eats lots of veggies without even noticing. Your husband and/or kids won’t even know the cauliflower rice is in there and that they are eating tons of veggies!

Tell me: Have you tried cauliflower rice? 

XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah

Easy Breakfast Wraps – Gluten Free & Paleo Friendly

Breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day. I love almost any and all breakfast food. When I was in college down in California, the breakfast burrito was reigning breakfast champ. I loved all the breakfast goodness wrapped up in warm tortilla.  Since finding out that I am allergic to gluten, I have had to modify many breakfasts and pretty much gave up on the breakfast burrito due to lack of large corn tortillas. I have successfully re-reated french toast and pancakes, two of my current favs, but I was missing a one handed breakfast wonder… until now! 

IMG_6094

This is no breakfast burrito, but it is pretty darn close – all the breakfast goodness rolled up into a tasty meal! These wraps make a great on-the-go breakfast. They are paleo friendly, gluten free and very easy to make. You can even make the filling ahead of time to save precious moments on a busy morning. 

paleo wrap 2

I stumbled upon these paleo wraps one day at Whole Foods. I do not follow a paleo diet, however I was intrigued that they were gluten free. I checked the ingredients and they are made mostly of coconut, which means they are very low carb and gluten free. They were on sale so I figured, “I’ll give them a whirl”. So glad I did!!!

IMG_6095

Easy Paleo Friendly Breakfast Wrap 

Except for the wraps, the ingredients for the recipe are likely things you already have in your fridge! You can find the wraps at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

Ingredients
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 cup egg whites
coconut oil spray
– 1/4 onion, diced
– 1/4 red pepper, diced 
– paleo wraps  
– mixed greens          
wrap prep

Instructions:
1) Spray skillet with coconut spray oil and heat to medium hea
2) Saute diced onions and peppers until onions become translucent IMG_6090
3) While peppers and onions are cooking, in a separate bowl mix eggs and egg whites
4) Add egg mixture to skillet and cook
5) Place paleo wrap on plate, add some mixed greens on one side of wrap
6) When eggs are done cooking, add to other side of paleo wrap paleo wrap
7) Roll up and enjoy!
*** if making ahead of time, do not roll up into paleo wrap until ready to eat because it will get soggy 
IMG_6093

I garnished mine with some of the mixed greens I used and some baby heirloom tomatoes. You could also pair this with some spicy salsa. Whether you are looking for a paleo friendly recipe or not, these wraps are great and super tasty. I enjoyed being able to mimic a large tortilla with them, something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. If you aren’t a coconut fan, you could substitute 2-3 corn tortillas and have breakfast tacos instead of the wrap. 🙂

XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah

Chicken Sausage & Kale “Saute” [Gluten Free & Paleo Friendly]

You guys… this recipe is SO GOOD! I tried it out this last Sunday night and lets just say it passed every single recipe test imaginable. My husband loved it, the left overs held great till the next day, and our taste buds were SINGING! Plus it’s quick, easy and simple! I promise! Photo Feb 08

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. It is a must try. I may be a little biased as I came up the the recipe and I really haven’t had much creative kitchen time recently 😀  Not only is it delicious and seriously satisfying, it is also healthy! It’s a great way to fit “greens” (i.e.: kale) into your day without really noticing. Additionally, while I don’t eat a “paleo” diet, but it is a recipe that those who do eat paleo can eat too! It makes 4 servings, but as I said, it keeps well. So if you aren’t feeding 4 people, you can use as a meal prep recipe to eat 4 times throughout the week or split with someone at night and eat the left overs for lunch.  

Let me go foodie on you guys for a minute… my favorite thing about this recipe would have to be the chicken andouille sausage. It adds the perfect amount of heat to the dish. It’s like a little bite, nothing crazy spicy. If you aren’t into andouille spices or are worried that heat may bother you or other people who are going to be eating this, feel free to substitute with another kind of chicken sausage. Photo Feb 08-4

This dish is warm, which is perfect for this time of year when the nights are cold and rainy. It tastes like comfort food, but will not affect your waistline like traditional comfort food! 

I chose to call it “Chicken Sausage & Kale Saute”. The recipe card is below 🙂

I bought organic kale from Trader Joe’s that has already been washed and chopped. That makes prep quicker and easier. You can use any kind of kale for the recipe, but I highly recommend lacinto (sometimes called tuscan) kale. Basically, try not to use curly kale in this recipe as the texture will change. 

Photo Feb 08-3

 

The sausage I used was FRESH chicken andouille sausage from Whole Foods. If you have a Whole Foods close to you, it is worth the trip for the fresh sausage. Because it is made fresh, not only is it nitrite free, you can also really taste the difference. The quality and taste is out of this world. 
It that option is not available to you, I recommend choosing a sausage that is nitrate and preservative free. Applegate makes some good ones that are sold at Target (random I know) or Kroger stores. 

The number of sausages that you need depends on the size. You will need 12oz of sausage total. The ones that I bought were bigger so it ended up only being 2 sausage links. If you buy fresh, you can tell them the weight you want. If you buy in a package, pay attention to the ounces on the package and divide by the number of sausage links. 

If you buy fresh sausage, you will have to cook it first before you can slice it. You will sauté the onion and sausage with some olive oil first. Then you remove from skillet. Photo Feb 08-4

The you add a can of white beans, spices and garlic to the skillet. Pour in about 14 ounces of organic chicken broth or vegetable broth. Bring to a slow boil. 

Photo Feb 08-5

Once it is boiling, let is slowly boil for about 3-4 minutes to reduce it by about half. Then start to add in handfuls of kale. I added about two handfuls at a time. Toss with beans until it is slightly wilted, then add more kale. Photo Feb 08-2

Once that is done, add the sausage and onion back into skillet along with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Cook together for a few minutes until warm. 

Photo Feb 08TA DA!!!!

I hope you guys try it. I loved it and will certainly be making this again. Leave me a comment here and let me know if this is something you would make! 

Chicken Sausage & Kale Saute [Gluten Free]
Serves 4
a delicious sauté with plenty of veggies and a flavorful chicken sausage. Highlights winter flavors and produce. Gluten free, paleo friendly.
Write a review
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1T olive oil
  2. 12 oz cooked chicken andouille sausage (sub different kind of chicken sausage if you wish)
  3. 1 medium onion cut into wedges
  4. 1 16oz can of white beans - drained
  5. 1T dried thyme (can use fresh if available)
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 1/2 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth, reduced sodium
  8. 12 cups chopped kale (use tuscan or lacinto kale)
  9. 2T balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. 1. in large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced sausage and onion wedges. cooke and stir 5-7 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. 2. add beans, thyme and garlic to skillet. Stir to heat through. Then add broth, bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, until reduced by half - about 3-4 minutes.
  3. 3. Gradually add kale to skillet. Toss with bean mixture until gently wilted and tender. Then add more kale until all 12 cups have been added.
  4. 4. Add sausage and onions back into skillet along with the balsamic vinegar. Heat thru.
Notes
  1. Makes 4 servings. Keeps well, so you can use as a meal prep recipe for the week or save the left overs for lunch the next day.
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/
XOXO
Stay sweet!
Sarah