MY TAKE ON PALEO - food ideas, opinions, etc...

So, as many of you know, after battling some severe stomach issues and joint pain and having very little answers as to why, my sister in law Jenny sent me this link. It was Danielle Alexander's story of her health transformation. I had already been eating very healthy, but up until this point, I allowed myself to eat some grains (rice, quinoa, & oats), peanuts, and beans.  Even though I was eating super healthy, something was still off.  Her story wasn't exactly the same, but it was eerily similar. For the first time in months, I actually had some hope that this wouldn't go on forever. However, as I did research on the paleo diet she recommended, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I didn't know how I could ever eat with such restrictions. We went to Barnes and Noble and got her cookbook and it was amazing! It even had desserts....not weird paleo desserts, but normal things like chocolate chip cookies, cakes, etc... It also had a ton of basic info that made the diet so much easier to start.

I began the Paleo diet with the help of some sweet friends and my wonderful husband who had to help me because I was unable to cook. Within about a month, I was feeling better.  I went to the Mayo Clinic and found out that one of the things I had was a very severe case of Crohn's.  We're still not sure why my bones kept dislocating though.  A little while later, I was able to get out of my wheelchair for short periods and began physical therapy! I got stronger and stronger and was no longer getting sick every 10-15 minutes, but more like 1-2 times a day.  I also gained 25 pounds back and was back up to 110, so I looked much healthier as well! My skeptical side didn't know if this was just a coincidence (the normal ups and downs of autoimmune flares) or if it was really due to the dietary changes. So, I began to allow myself some "cheats."   We're not talking big cheats...just a little wheat and sugar here and there. I was still eating super healthy compared to most people.  It wasn't long until I started to hurt again and was having trouble walking. I got back on the diet and had a lot of friends praying and am now feeling a lot better. I am still dealing with some stomach problems, so I'm kicking myself for cheating, but I'm also trying to give myself grace because it's a tough diet to follow.  I will try to keep you all posted as to whether it continues to help me.

As I told my friend, it's a very hard diet to be on, so even though it's great for anyone, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless you were having health problems or thought you could make a lifestyle change. I do not believe in "diets," because 90-95% of people who come off of them gain all weight back and usually even more.  This isn't about weight, it's about feeding your body what it needs to restore your health. I know a lot of people that are on it for weight loss reasons and have seen amazing results, but I am nowhere near determined enough to stick to it for weight loss reasons. ha!  Pain and the inability to walk or move your arms is a good motivator though. : ) I am getting a lot better at eating this way. The Against all grains cookbook helped me a ton! I can even have cookies now!...just cookies made with almond flour and coconut flour.


With that said, here are my tips for GOING PALEO:

Meal Ideas: 
(side note: on paleo, all healthy meats are allowed, but I can't handle any greasy things like pork or beef that's not well drained)
Besides the meal ideas below, I also do a lot of veggie stews, meatloaf stuffed bell peppers, fajitas (tortillas for the family and none for me), sweet potatoes (yes, these can be salty rather than sweet), omelets/ frittatas, BLT's rolled up with lettuce-even better with some paleo mayonaise, taco salad (no chips for me) and stir-fry.  I also do baked potatoes every now and then topped with some steamed broccoli (potatoes aren't technically paleo, but I am not trying to lose weight, so I am not worried about the carbs and I only have them every once in a while). ....And don't forget that if you need something quick, you can always grab a rotisserie chicken and some steamable veggies or salad stuff.

eggs, omelets (chop up some all natural sandwich meat or cooked bacon with peppers, onions, and whatever veggies you want), smoothies, veggie muffins from Against All Grains (they taste like zucchini bread), banana muffins, etc...

My go to snacks:
cashews or almonds with raisins, veggies with paleo ranch, turkey bacon (I make a bunch up and grab a piece when I'm having a salty craving), and sweet potato chips (that I lay out on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oils, sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake a little longer so they taste much yummier- I do the whole batch and then put them back in the bag, so I don't have to do that every time.

Sweet snacks/ treats:
All fruits, applesauce with cinnamon (although make sure it contains no artificial sweeteners. It's yummy without, I promise!), canned fruit salad with no syrup of course, smoothies, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and a wee bit of stevia, homemade almond milk ice cream (I have a bullet type things that I make smoothies in. I use it and add ice, I spoonful of cocoa, 1-2 packets of stevia, almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla- BLUE DIAMOND BRAND IS THE BEST BRAND) and blend to make some "chocolate ice cream." Sometimes I add a little drop of peppermint to make mint chocolate ice cream, or a banana to make choco-banana ice cream. I also have some of the Against all grain cookie doughhttp://againstallgrain.com/2012/08/29/real-deal-chocolate-chip-cookies/ on hand so that I can pop a couple of cookies into the oven when I'm having a craving. : )

I strongly suggest that you buy the Against All Grain cookbook. It helped me a lot. I promise she didn't ask me to say that. ha! It just helped me to have a starting point. Finding new "go to recipes and snacks" is one of the hardest parts, so I was very thankful for that. I also used pinterest a ton!

I like this alfredo sauce : ) I can see this being a creamy base for all sorts of soups if you omitted some of the garlic, so I am looking forward to playing with it!
Paleo chicken alfredo (DE-licious!) My cousin Amber made this for me with the kelp noodles and it was amaze-balls. 

If you allow yourself some dairy free chocolate chips, then these cookies are amazing! Mine turned out thicker than hers, but they're soooooo good either way!
Here are some more recipes I have tweaked:
Please ignore the spelling error marks. I just took pictures of my word documents with my snipping tool and apparently Microsoft word isn't up on paleo : )

 The great part of this diet, is that it's not restricting anything healthy, like lean healthy meats (with no hormones, no artificial preservatives like nitrates/ nitrites, grass-fed beef, etc...), veggies, & fruits. So, worst case scenario, you're eating healthier. : ) The down side, is that you might freak out and binge on chips or cookies unless you do some research and have some yummy things on hand so you don't feel like you are restricting yourself so much.

One thing that helps me, is reminding myself that I am so blessed to be able to find and afford foods that don't make me sick. This is a luxury that a lot of people don't have. So instead of living in the world of, "I can't have this or that...woe is me." I can live in an attitude of gratefulness, to have food at all, much less wonderful and delicious fruits, meats, and vegetables! We are so blessed and I pray that I'll always have a heart that reflects how grateful I am.

Some verses about food:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

This one helps me with my discipline (or lack thereof):

“‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything (including food)… Therefore, Honor God with your body”    -1 Corinthians 6:12, 20b

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. –Genesis 9:3

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. –Genesis 1:29

*As always please do research on this for yourself. I did a TON before beginning this and would never recommend starting something without doing that.