Thursday, June 27, 2013

Give Your Kids a Chance to Eat Healthy

"My kid just won't eat healthy foods."

"He only eats chicken nuggets and won't drink water, only koolaid."

"She hasn't ever had spinach, but I know she won't like it."

I hear these, and other excuses far too often. And yes, they are excuses. Kids are picky, they like to have control. Especially younger children. But that does not mean that a parent has a right to be a coward! Please give your children a chance to eat wholesome, nutritious foods. Will it be difficult to transition a kiddo from fruity pebbles to scrambled eggs? Sure. Will it be hard to chance their palates? Yup.

Will it be worth it? You betcha.

My daughter loved cereal. At one point in her short life, it was all she wanted to eat. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner....she would want cereal. Or apples. And I will admit, there were too many days that I gave in. But I also noticed that those were the days that she would throw more tantrums. And it also bothered me that when I offered chicken for lunch, she'd want cereal instead. I had a little sugar/carb addict on my hands.

So I started out slowly. Gluten free cereal, but much less. And I constantly offered her new foods. And I educated her on nutrition. I let her know that her cereal would not make her feel good - but if she really wanted it, she could have some.

Fast forward to today. Marilyn has been eating paleo for a couple years now. Has her diet slipped? Well sure. Sometimes she goes to Grammie's house and has s'mores without the crackers. Marshmallow between two bars of chocolate. Does she get hyper? Yes. Is she rotton the next day? Yes. Does she understand how food makes her feel? YES.

We have a food routine these days. Breakfast has to be one protein (from an animal) and can be a naturally sweetened grain free waffle, muffin, roll, pancake...whatever. Snack is usually fruit. Lunch is meat and veggie. Snack is nuts and/or fruit. Dinner is meat and veggie. This is how it always is, and she'll ask for other stuff, but she knows I won't give in. On the weekends, she might get something off some gluten free crackers, or ice cream made from frozen bananas. Every now then, she gets real ice cream, with sprinkles.

Grain free treat! YUMMY!
We treat sporadically. And we call it treats. Not cheats. She isn't cheating herself. She is having a treat, and is learning about it affects her body. She knows veggies and meat make her feel good. Her digestion is better, going potty is easier, and she isn't so moody. She now fully understand that sugar makes her grumpy the next day. So now we plan for it, and talk about her moods. When she is grumpy, we talk about how she has control over her mind, and that if she needs to, she should take a break in her room until the rainbows come. :)

But none of this could be possible without giving her a chance to eat healthy. And every week I still try to introduce her to new foods. So far, the only veggies she will submit to are broccoli, spinach, and cherry tomatoes. I still have her try new ones - but she hasn't been too keen on new flavors. And that is okay - she understand that even if she gets bored...she still has to eat at least one green serving of veggies twice a day.

Once you cut out the refined sugars and carbs - kids tend to open up more to other foods. Fruit tastes sweeter. Nuts aren't so bland. Veggies can get exciting. They crave meat. Their bodies start to tell them what it truly wants, and they start to listen. It can be a rough couple months...won't lie there. But it is WORTH IT. Please don't give up!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My kid is roaring! Eat Like a Dinosaur!

When I heard that Paleo Parents were coming out with a cookbook, I was ecstatic. I have followed their website/blog for some time and have loved witnessing their journey to better health - with the entire family on board.

Marilyn has been a paleo kid for as long as I've been a paleo adult. And really, the transition wasn't very difficult. We had a few ups and downs, but mostly, she is very proud of the way she eats. However, she does notice that she is pretty much alone. While other kids are eating pizza, snickers, and gobs of bread...she is eating spinach and egg muffins, venison burgers wrapped in lettuce, and gobs of apples. Once in awhile she'll ask for a treat, like those infamous candy coated discs of chocolate...and I'll give in. And I'm okay with that. We eat 99% clean paleo - and that 1% of the time that we treat (gluten free, mind you) is special. We're not afraid of food in this household. We know how our bodies react to it, and we plan accordingly, and treat accordingly.

Eat Like a Dinosaur celebrates eating healthy, and treating healthy as well. Marilyn was very excited to read the story inside - she could absolutely relate to the little boy as he talked about his family and their new lifestyle. I highly recommend this book to any family with children - struggling or not. Eating healthy (and really, ANY healthy lifestyle) can make a kid (and the entire family) feel alone. Marilyn mentioned that it's nice to know she isn't the only one who doesn't eat "unhealthy bread".

This book is Marilyn's. She adores having a cookbook all to herself, and it's been fun picking out recipes and seeing what allergen is or isn't inside. She has the colored sections memorized. There is a place for kids to add notes. There are symbols on the side of each recipe that allows you to identify the allergens. This is much more than a cookbook - this is a children's manual for nutrition. From the children's story and the recipes, to the lunchbox ideas...Paleo Parents covered it all.

So what have we tried so far?

  • Sweet Potato Fries: Marilyn "didn't like" these in the past, but devoured them this time. 
  • Eggs in a Nest: This recipe is very much different from my own as it contains meat - and it was quite tasty!
  • Deviled Bacony Eggs: I must admit I thought I'd hate these. I've never been a deviled eggs...but these were awesome. Marilyn thought they were "okay" - I think the texture threw her off some. 
  • Pumpkin Cider "Latte": You can find this recipe on the Paleo Parents' blog. It's so good. Perfect for a chilly, rainy day. 

Last but not least....Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can't tell you how many paleo/grain free cookies I've tried and hated. Grain free cookies are just...they are not the same. Marilyn is blessed with a limited experience of SAD baked good...but my memory gets in the way every time. Paleo Parents came up with a chocolate chip cookie recipe that changed the game forever. The texture was spot on. The taste was exceptional.

This book is not just for paleo/primal types. It's for any family dealing with food allergies. All recipes are dairy, wheat, peanut and soy free. Many are free of eggs, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts. Go and get yourself a copy today!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

First of all, I like the name of this cut. Lamb Shank. Shank. When I bought these, I really didn't know what a shank was, so I looked it up.

Urban Dictionary says it's a home made knife. Oops, not that kind of shank. definition:

A cut of lamb taken from either the shoulder (fore shank) and arm of a lamb or the upper part of the leg (hind shank). The fore shank will includes part of the shoulder, as well as part of the leg, while the hind shank will include only part of the rear leg. Lamb shanks have a paper-thin membranous covering and a thin layer of fat. While a lamb shank is leaner than the sirloin part of a lamb, the meat can be tough. This cut of lamb is often braised or roasted.

If you follow/like me on facebook, then you've seen that I don't make any apologies for my love of lamb. It's certainly my favorite animal to eat. Though I've never had elk, or alligator, and I've heard those are quite tasty.

Lamb is, in my super expert opinion, a very forgiving meat. You really can't mess it up. Unless you poured coke on top...that would probably be a sin. Throw on some garlic, a little salt, some rosemary, and you'll have a dish that will make you close your eyes and moan softly. Yes, ma'am.

The best cuts of lamb are the fatty cuts. Because lamb fat melts in your mouth and has tons of flavor. I'm just throwing that out there. Eat the lamb fat.

And please do not forget to take a garlic clove and shmush it on top of the meat. Thank you The Food Lovers' Primal Palate for introducing to that piece of wisdom. 

Slow Cooked (Grokpot) Lamb Shanks
  • 4 lamb shanks (or as many that will fit in your crock)
  • 6-8 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • All purpose seasoning blend (I like the one from simply organic). This is even optional. 

Generously sprinkle salt and your seasoning blend on top of the lamb shanks. Not so generously sprinkle on a little pepper. Rub it in. Put your garlic cloves into the crock. Add the rubbed shanks. Sprinkle on your rosemary. Use about a TBSP of it. If you have fresh, just lay a sprig of it on top. Set your grokpot on low and let it cook until the meat is falling off the bone (7-8 hours). 

I realize I'm not giving you exact measurements...but you'll be okay. I promise. Just eyeball it. If you're very worried it won't turn out, then add some crumbled bacon into the mix. You really can't screw this up. If you do, please write me some hate mail.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Paleo Halloween - What to do with all that candy!

Marilyn is quite the paleo advocate these days. She'll be the first to tell you that she does not eat grains, doesn't like cow's milk, and thinks sugar (cane sugar) is icky. So when I asked her what she wanted to do with her trick-or-treat candy, she didn't totally surprise me with her reply. 

"Ummm....throw it away?"

My child refuses to eat candy. And can you blame her? The last time she ate candy, she had a tummy ache, and was very upset at me for "making her eat it". But she still wants to go trick-or-treating. And I want her to as well. Dressing up and getting out there with the kids and collecting candy is fun and exciting! But I can't just throw the candy away. There has to be something we can do with it!

Since I homeschool her, I've decided to turn her candy into a science lesson. That's right, we are going to perform some fun science experiments with it! And since all of that candy is pretty much a mass of shoddy chemicals and's quite appropriate. 

Depending on what she scores in her goody bag, we're going to bloom chocolate, create a density rainbow, and do some sink/float testing. has a ton of experiments you can try out with the kids. Loralee, the mom who created the site, has tips for parties and provides printable instructions for many of the candy tests. There are lots of pictures and videos that you can use as reference. Best of all, it's fun. Your kids won't miss eating the candy as they watch it transform, bubble and fizz, sink or float. 

Are you taking the kids trick-or-treating this year? What will you do with the candy?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Paleo Road Trip Survival

We took a long road trip recently. My husband is going to be away for a few months, so I decided to head north for the winter. I'm not crazy, I promise. I just love Michigan and all it has to offer - even the snow. And it's nice to be around family for a change. Military life has it's advantages, however, like any job you take the good with crappy stuff. Crappy = We don't see our families enough.

Anyhoo...I didn't come here to whine about that! For our road trip, I wanted to make sure we stayed paleo. And to save money, I didn't want us to eat out at every stop. I packed a cooler. From Savannah, GA to Michigan, it's about 18 hours straight. I thought for sure we'd end up in hotel, considering we were travelling with a kiddo, so I packed enough eats for two days. Kind of. I figured we might get lucky and find a whole foods on the way up.

  • 1 dozen hard boiled eggs
  • 15 sticks of grassfed beef jerky (Gourmet Grassfed totally groks)
  • 1 package romaine lettuce
  • 12 bananas
  • 12 apples
  • 12 plums (they ended up being gross and we threw those out)
  • 1 can organic raisins
  • 1 bunch grapes
  • 4 packages of dry roasted nuts (mixed)
  • 1 box organic wild berry fruit leather (from target)
  • Cold brewed organic coffee (for hubs)
  • Cold brewed organic tea (for me)
  • 2 gallons water

Turns out, staying paleo(ish) on a road trip is easy. I stayed away from the fruit, and stuck to the jerky, lettuce, and eggs. We weren't starving the whole time, and we weren't eating the entire time either. The beef jerky and eggs really kept us full. Marilyn loved the jerky and since we weren't stuffing her full of crappy sugar/gluten road snacks, she was a pure gem the entire time. No outbursts, no tantrums. She happily colored, watched a movie, or napped. It was amazing. Whenever we stopped for a break, we'd head into the store and Marilyn would point out all of the junk food. She'd proudly exclaim that we have healthy snacks in the car.

Because we were feeling good, we drove the entire way. Well, Bernard drove the entire time. I drove for about 20 minutes...until we hit the mountains and I felt like we were all going to fly of the edge of the mountain and die or that the semi trucks were out to get me. Don't be like me.

We didn't stop and stay in a hotel. We didn't buy any food. We finally ended up at our destination at 3:30am. We were exhausted, and we crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

All in all, it was a good road trip and we are happy we stayed paleo. I don't think we would have made it all of the way up in one fell swoop if we snacked on cookies, crackers, and crap.

Other things that travel well:

  • Larabars (blueberry muffin is my personal favorite)
  • Homemade power balls
  • Veggie Sticks - carrots, bell pepper, celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Nut Butter (you could spread some on a coconut flour wrap...or just eat it from the jar)
  • Avocados
  • Organic/Pastured Deli Meats (in a cooler)
  • Precooked Bacon
  • Coconut oil

Another "paleo is awesome confirmation"...

Marilyn woke up that morning with a somewhat high fever. It was below 104*, so I didn't medicate (and usually don't). I made sure she took her vitamins, and had plenty of fluids. She didn't have any other symptoms, so I figured we would ride this fever out and let it do it's magic. And that was the right decision. By the time we got to my parents' house, the fever disappeared.

Grok didn't have it...but it helps:

If you're facing a long road trip, a portable dvd player, a new movie or two, some new coloring books and crayons, and a few new toys are true lifesavers. I suggest new things, because children are more excited and more apt to watch/play with something new in the car. Especially on a long road trip. And if you have younger kids...I urge you to get a travel potty. Save those grocery bags to use as liners. We were so happy to have that potty with us, because Marilyn rarely had to go when we were stopped for breaks...but conveniently had to when we got back on the road. It's also a tad more sanitary.

Anyhow - I hope this posts helps you with all of your paleo/primal travel needs. It was fun to plan our cooler, and I look forward to staying paleo everywhere I go. It's also nice to have kid so motivated to stick with our lifestyle as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



  • 1 oz chocolate (6 rounds of Trader Joes unsweetened baking chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 20 drops English Toffee flavored liquid Stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp local raw honey
  • 3 heaping tbsp full fat coconut milk

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler (or a glass bowl on top of a small sauce pan with water in it). Stir often until fully melted and then add in the other ingredients, leaving out the coconut milk. Stir until completely incorporated. Turn the burner off and allow to cool for a minute and then add in the coconut milk and stir.

I use a bread loaf pan covered in wax paper to form my chocolate bars, but you can use whatever you'd like. Once the pan is covered with wax paper I pour the chocolate in and spread it evenly around the pan and then pop it in the freezer. Freezer time will depend on the temperature of your freezer. Mine freezes up and is ready to cut into pieces in about 25 minutes, the longer you wait the longer it stays frozen. If you can't wait very long then it will melt very quickly.

If you want to keep it overnight I would cover it with saran wrap or another form of covering so it doesn't taste "freezer-y". I have never waited overnight because I want to eat CHOCOLATE NOW! I like to save a piece to have with my coffee in the morning, yum!

You can make this chocolate in so many different ways! Sometimes I add in shredded coconut and crushed hazelnuts. Sometimes I add in dried berries or almond butter instead of coconut milk. There are so many ways to make it delicious!

Of course, like any other Paleo dessert only eat this in moderation. I like to make this when I've had a particularly rough week, usually when the kids are having a hard time sleeping and I need to give myself a little reward for getting through the week without strangling them. Some might call this reward thing bad, but whatever. Being mom is tough and the job pays in chocolate.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mabon Feast!

The Fall Equinox is a day of celebrating the delicious foods of the fall harvest and thanking Mother Earth for her energy and life force that sustains us through our food that we eat. For Mabon this year, which is our first year celebrating, we had a rough go. We were all getting over colds (which also means no sleep) and I was having a really hard time pulling a celebration together. Needless to say our feast was not as large as I had hoped for and it was REALLY late when we finally ate. But we ate, and boy was it good! We had slow-cooked pulled pork (shoulder roast to be exact), Sweet Acorn mash, and a big huge salad!

Pork Roast
  • 1 Pork Shoulder Roast (cut in half to cut cooking time down)
  • 1 tbsp paleo friendly ketchup
  • 1 tbsp paleo friendly mustard
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp coconut crystals
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 box of Beef Broth
Mix all ingredients but the roast and the broth. Then cut the roast in half and smother it in the sauce. Let this marinate for at least a half hour, more for a more flavorful meat. Next put it in the crock pot and cover most of the meat with the broth, throw in some onions and carrots if you have them. Let cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your roast. If I'm short on time and I only have 4 or 5 hours I cut it into many pieces and cook it on high, it still comes out tender and delicious!

Sweet Acorn Mash

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 tbsp full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp coconut crystals
  • 2 tsp 100% maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Cut the squash into fourths and bake those and the potatoes at 350 until they are soft enough to mash them (about 45 minutes). Scoop the squash out of the skin and put it into a bowl and cut up the sweet potatoes and add those (I leave the skins on). Then start to mash them, once they're slightly mashed add in the coconut milk, coconut crystals, maple syrup, and spice and mash some more. Just for fun I added a sprinkling more of the coconut crystals on top and put it in a decorative bowl! Scoop and serve, they are DELICIOUS, they are a great sub for dessert even!