Monday, July 14, 2014

Your Guide to Paleo Grocery Shopping!


I definitely made that food pyramid up there...cool right! lol So I have been asked a lot about grocery shopping, what to get, how to eat, and of course, is it expensive? There is no real simple answer for any of this. I mean, is Paleo going to be more than the Top Ramen and Macaroni and Cheese diet? Of course! If you have a somewhat balanced diet, going Paleo isn't going to be much of a difference on the grocery bill. I have found people usually end up spending the same amount. This is because, when you go to the store without a plan, or buy whatever you are in the mood for, you tend to spend more. The chips, cookies, baked goods along with all the boxed meals, plus your meats and produce, it comes out to be quite a bit and its not healthy either. Even the S.A.D. diet and all the quinoa...that stuff isn't cheap! I saw it yesterday at the grocery store for $4.79 for this small box. You spend so much more for whole wheat and so-called "healthy" grains, when you could be spending less on whole natural foods. Cutting out the junk, only buying the good stuff, and sticking to a list...it will help your health and your budget! So below are my tips...I hope you find them useful!!

Step 1 - Creating a Plan

The most common mistake when doing any kind of food shopping is going to the store when you're hungry and without a plan. This is something I used to do, but I made sure to stick to the plan and now, I feel lost in the jungle if I don't have my grocery list lol. Make sure you sit down and plan out your list before you do your shopping. I know time is lacking for most people, but you do have time to make a grocery list. Once you get used to it, the task will be much faster and much easier.

Get a notebook just for meals and grocery lists. Write down the days of the week you are shopping for, and what you and your family will be eating for each meal, including snacks, for those days. Then you will be able to create your list based on the meals you will be eating. If you create your list in groups, for example all produce together, it will be easier and faster to shop. Organization is important when you are trying to save time.

This was one of my grocery lists and meal plans a couple weeks ago. I do not always write down snacks anymore, I just grab a few extra pieces of fruit and veggies for snacking, but when you first start out, try planning out your entire day with food.



Step 2 - Getting your Family on Board

When going Paleo for Weight Loss you really need to clear your house of the junk food. I always hear "well my husband (or my kids) like it, so its in the house and I end up eating it too". You guys....tough love....I did this too! Trust me...I did this! A lot! The fact is, if you are thinking of going Paleo, it's because you want to be healthy, right? So why not enforce this lifestyle on your kids and husband too? They deserve to be healthy after all, and you want to give your children good eating habits. They can still enjoy their favorite foods, just a healthier version. Do not use your family as a reason to why you cant be healthy.

It is easier to get your kids on board than your spouse at times. The world is filled with picky kids like I have never seen before. We enforce the "if you are hungry you will eat it" rule. Many people do this, it's not because we want our kids to eat food they dislike. It's because you can train your taste buds. This is a fact. I used to hate veggies, and I was also 100 lbs overweight. I forced myself to eat ALL veggies, and now I love them! My daughter will eat everything, she loves salmon and broccoli, she will eat whatever is put in front of her. My son though, he knows better, and hes 11 (my daughter is 2)...so sometimes he complains if he doesn't like something, but he always eats it. He has gotten a lot better with everything though. He used to always complain, didn't want the veggies, or wanted junk on a daily basis. Now, he likes certain veggies and when I make the grocery list, he gets to pick one meal a night, and its always something healthy. Do they get the occasional candy truck or ice cream trip? You bet, but it isn't frequently.

Spouses can be a struggle at times, especially if they aren't on board. Get them on board lol....I don't know what to tell you about stubborn spouses. I personally don't think grown adults should be picky like children. If you are, I apologize, but like I said, you can train your taste buds to like things you didn't like before. You cannot live on 5 different foods or only 2 food groups...it isn't healthy. My husband was skeptical at first, but when he gained 30 lbs while I was pregnant, he was on board to lose it. He did, in 6 weeks, no working out either! Men...they lose weight so fast lol. However, he has his moments. When he wants junk, he goes and gets it and its just enough for that day. He doesn't go out and buy a ton of cookies or ice cream. If your spouse wants to do this, that's fine, just make sure they keep their cheats for that day rather than a big tub that will tempt everyone in the house for weeks to come. Plus, there are the paleo sweets that are better than refined sugar and wheat treats. If you can bake the paleo treats for your family instead, they will be less likely to get the junk at the stores.

That is one of the hardest obstacles...getting the family on board. I hope those tips help you. Having to enforce tough love and overall health and good choices among your family will be worth it in the end.

Step 3 - Where to Shop

This is an easy rule, and a short one. Depending on where you live, sometimes finding certain things can be tricky. I live in Germany right now, and it took a little while to figure it all out, but I think I have it down now.

Most towns have a Farmers Market where all the local growers get together and sell their produce. If you are lucky, there will be a meat and fish vendor too. The local grown organic produce and grass fed meats/ wild caught fish will be great options to get at your Farmers Market. Plus you know its fresh as can be!

If you can't get to a Farmers Market, or do not have access to one, shop at your local health food store. They will always have the foods you need, especially paleo friendly ones. If you have a Whole Foods or Sprouts nearby, those are awesome stores.

If you do not have a health food store, your local store is fine. Even the local stores have organic produce and good meats. I know we don't always want to go to several stores, but if you need to go to 2 in order to get what you need, that's OK. Just do what you can.

Step 4 - What types of foods to buy

Now, down to it, what do you buy? Here are the different food options and what to choose over other foods. You see my Food Pyramid above...I made that for you guys for an easy visual.

Meats - Ideally, all your meats will be grass fed. If you live in the United States, this is an easy find. It can cost a little more, but its worth it. Grass fed meats are hormone free and antibiotic free. If you cant buy grass fed meat, get the organic option. If you have a meat grinder, use that rather than buying meat already ground. You can also ask the butcher to grind the meat for you. The already ground meat contains the scraps...body parts from several different animals. I have heard companies use up to 80 different cows for one batch of ground beef. You never know what condition those animals were in. You also want to know what you are eating. If you can buy the chunk of meat, and have the butcher grind it, that is healthier.

Fish - Your fish should always be wild caught rather than farm raised or imported. The Farm Raised and Imported options are loaded with hormones and toxins. Your local fish market should have wild caught seafood options. I know tilapia was the big thing for a while, mainly because its a mild fish, but tilapia is farm raised and probably one of the worst fish options for you.

Chicken and Eggs - Chicken and eggs should also be organic and free range, hormone and antibiotic free. If you haven't had an organic free range egg, you need to try them! The yolk is almost orange rather than pale yellow, and they taste so much better.

Produce - Your produce should always be either local grown or organic. I have seen articles that say organic is no different than regular produce. That is true if you don't care about toxins. Does an organic apple have the same vitamins as a non-organic apple? Sure. Does an organic apple have the same toxins and preservatives that a non-organic apple has? Nope, not at all. Your best options are fresh, in season and local organic. Imported produce is loaded with chemicals as well. When you are Paleo for Weight loss, your fruit consumption should be low. Try to stick to berries and lower sugar fruits, rather than a ton of fruit every day.

Nuts - When you go paleo, you can eat all nuts except peanuts. Did you know peanuts are NOT nuts? Crazy right! People get confused because its always in the nut section of the store, and its called a peaNUT, but its a legume, not a not, and not Paleo. This means, no peanut butter as well. Nuts should be in moderation, they are not a free food. You can go above and beyond your carb and calorie count FAST if you sit and finish a can of nuts. I have done this with Cashews before, and Cashews are high in calories and fat. You can also make nut butters as a peanut butter alternative.

Grains, Gluten and Legumes - These foods no longer exist in your world. If it is processed, in a box, can, jar, frozen, bag, or any other form of factory manufactured food, it is off limits. Unless it is marked Paleo at your health food shop, it probably has preservatives, wheat or gluten in it. Legumes are also off limits (these are all beans).

Dairy - Dairy is also avoided on Paleo. If you are going more "Primal" then you can have some dairy. This would be in the form of whole dairy products. Kerry Gold makes cheese from grass fed cows so its better than regular cheese. Whole fat organic cheese and milk is better than products from treated injected animals.

Sugar - This also doesn't exist in your diet anymore. Refined sugar is just terrible for you. When you do need a sweet treat in your life, make it yourself, and use RAW honey or Swerve.

Flours - Flour is part of the grain/gluten family so it is off limits. However, you can make bread and baked goods with paleo-friendly flours such as Almond Flour, Hazelnut Flour and Coconut Flour.

Cooking Oils - You want to always avoid vegetable oils.....always. Stick to Coconut Oil and organic grass fed butter for cooking. Kerry Gold makes grass fed butter, just a tip. You can also use olive oil, but it holds its nutrients better before you cook it, so its great for salad dressings! You can also use avocado oil and macadamia oil.

Condiments - This is usually a grey area for some people. Yes, you CAN buy Mustard, Mayo and Ketchup. Are they Paleo? Nope, but its not the end of the world either. I never expect my busy challengers to go home and make their own condiments because its just not always possible. If you can, GREAT! If you cant, its not that serious. However, you would be better off getting your condiments from Sir Kensingtons.  Just know, ketchup and mayo are so so SO easy to make...just make a batch and keep it in the fridge. You can find a great Paleo Ketchup HERE and you can get a great Paleo Mayo recipe HERE. Avoid store bought condiments as much as you can, but I do understand if you need them in a pinch...just try and stay as organic as possible.

Please note, these are the basics behind these food groups. There are books you can read for a more in-depth description of each food individually. These are your main guidelines though, and perfect rules to follow when starting out!

Step 5 - How to get Paleo Meal Plans and join a Challenge Group

Do you want free meal plans to help you get started with Paleo for Weight Loss? Do you want accountability and support along the way in a Challenge Group? Email me and ask me how to get started! As of today, there is a challenge group starting July 28th. If you are interested, you will get a clear at-home workout schedule, 30 days of nutrient-dense Shakeology, low carb paleo meal plans and access to the group! My email is FoodIMakeMySoldier@yahoo.com. You can also reach me on Facebook and send me a private message!

The BEST of luck to you with your new Paleo lifestyle, your weight loss and your overall health journey ahead! If you need any help at all, please contact me! I would love to help you out! <3 nbsp="" p="">

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paleo Thumbprint Cookies



You know when your hair smells good right after you take a shower?! Its the best. I keep smelling my own hair. I told my husband, and he said something, and I said "Marzipan? How does it smell like Marzipan? And how do you even know what that smells like??" Hes like "what the hell is marzipan? I didn't say that"...I guess he said it smells good all the time, and somehow, I heard marzipan?! CLEARLY I am losing my mind. 

I feel like Splits 59 should donate to the needy...being me...cause I really need new workout clothes lol. If you want to check them out, I just put the link there for you! Its a little out of hand how badly I need all types of clothes actually. I told myself, I'm not going to buy any clothes until I lose weight....like 10 years ago. OK not really, but it seems like it. It has been a while though...my hormones are so out of sorts and I'm getting old so losing weight is getting slower. How stupid is that?! Its like "oh, you're about to be 30? Hold on, I forgot to press the slow metabolism and grey hair button...let me get that for you"...unfair. Unfair to say the least. Then I decided, I am how I am and I just need to find some clothes that fit these crazy hips and just go with it. I can buy more clothes later when the rest of this weight comes off. In the mean time, I am going to Paris in 3 weeks so I need clothes.

OK speaking of weight...I am on day 6 of the Ultimate Reset...its going pretty well. I am kind of annoyed because I want to eat meat really bad, but cant. I have no idea if I have lost weight because I ditched the scale over a month ago. I figured, so I don't obsess over it, I will weigh myself at the end with a new scale. When I first wake up in the morning I definitely feel lighter, and I end up taking progress photos just because, then the end of the day comes and I feel all gross again. I wonder why that is....? I guess I can revisit paragraph 2 about getting old lol. Hopefully this detox and cleanse will do the trick! Week 2 is detox week, so we will see how that goes. ALL I WANT is to be 180 lbs...I'm soooo close yet so far since it slowed down so bad. I am also 5'9 in case you wanted to know...and I think my boobs make up 1/3 of my body weight lmao...just saying.

Sometimes I don't know what brings out the weird in me, and why I feel the need to share it with you all, but I do. That's why I love Paleomg.com because shes weird too, but super funny, I enjoy reading her stuff. It makes me laugh, a lot. So many of my posts these days are about weight loss, fitness, health, etc etc...but you guys already know I do that just by visiting my blog or social media pages...so I figured I would share OTHER random stuff with you. Sounds good to me anyway!

PS my daughter used my self tanner lotion and spread it around on her body in random spots. Her skin looks all crazy right now, with tan marks everywhere including her cheeks haha...this girl is something else. She gets into EVERYTHING. I always wonder why people put those backpack leashes on their kids, like just control your kid and you don't need a leash. Then Nevaeh came along...she for sure needs a leash....now I understand why people have them. Never judge the weird things people do, they are for a reason lol.

My daughter helped me make these cookies today, it was fun. OK....I'm lying....it was more of a disaster cause she threw eggs on the floor with a pack of almond flour, and drank the almond milk, and started eating the jelly with a spoon....

Here's the less messy version....

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups Blanched Almond Flour
1 Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4  tsp salt
2 Tbsp Stevia or Swerve
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 eggs
Homemade Jam, Sugar Free Jam, Paleo Jam...whatever you want to use. I used my Chia Seed Strawberry Jam...it had a little raw honey in it and gelatin.

Directions

Preheat your oven to 340 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and stevia.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer, and beat together the butter, eggs, extracts, coconut oil and honey.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet in small clumps. Use a spoon to pat it down a bit, then poke a hole in the middle. The whole "thumbprint" affect doesn't really work with this dough because its not wheat dough, but you can use the back of a 1/2 tsp to do it like I did.

Spoon 1/2 tsp of jelly into the cookie, then place in the oven for about 11-12 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Recipe makes 16 cookies
Each cookie has 2.28 net carbs without the jam so add the carb count from the jam you end up using.




Monday, July 7, 2014

60 DAY CHALLENGE


I have my next 60 Day Challenge Group starting July 28th!! The last 60 day group went really well...I have provided before and after photos from myself and one other challenger in the flier above. I will give you the info about the challenge here so you know everything the program includes, and how you can join the team! Sign ups END FIRM on July 22nd.

Please keep in mind, I have found over time that smaller challenge groups are more successful. This means, the smaller the group, the more everyone is engaged in the posts, and is able to be held accountable and motivated. The times I have run smaller groups, EVERYONE is involved, EVERYONE loses weight, and EVERYONE keeps going making their hard work really count! So, because of this, I am only taking TEN people in the group this time. I feel this will really give you max benefits, and more of a one-on-one feel with everyone instead of being lost in the mix of too many people. Having support is key in weight loss...there is always the "you can do anything you put your mind to" approach, but I understand sometimes it is not that easy. This group will be filled with other like-minded women to help support you, push you, motivate you and keep you going. We post just about anything, from questions, problems, progress, etc. Side note, I only say women because I haven't had a male challenger yet besides my husband lol. Although, my husband did lose 30 lbs when I got him on cleaner eating. Obviously male challengers are not out of the question, I just haven't had one. So, man or woman, feel free to contact me with questions!

So what does the program include and how can you get your spot before I reach 10 people? Here is how it works...

1. You will need a Facebook account in order to be part of the challenge group. The majority of people have Facebook, but if you don't have a Facebook account, it is really easy to make one and you can have it just for this group. It's not like you have to be involved with Facebook now, you can just sign up and join the group and check in when you see fit. All my past challenge groups have been great. I ended up keeping one group open at all times, so when the 60 days is over, if you want to continue in a group you can join my permanent challenge group for daily support and info so you can keep going after the 60 days. These support groups are 100% free.

2. I do check-ins with you twice a week to make sure you are on track, and I am always available for questions you may have. I also do weigh-in Mondays to track your progress. This also helps me adjust certain things if need be. The one-on-one coaching is free to you. 

3.  You will get free weekly meal plans that are based on the low carb paleo lifestyle. Eating clean, healthy, whole foods help you lose weight and prevent disease. The meal plans take the guess work out of meal prep and what to eat every day, and I personalize each one so they fit within your time frame and likes/dislikes. The meal plans are free as well!

4. You will need to choose a challenge pack from my Beachbody Website. When you get to the website, you will see a button that says "Buy a Challenge Pack" on the right hand side, in the flash player ad. This will show you all the challenge packs we offer. The pack comes with a workout plan of your choice, and 30 days of Shakeology. You will also get a wall schedule and nutrition information. Shakeology is the nutrient dense, organic, whole-food meal replacement shake now clinically proven to help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The challenge pack is the only thing you would need to purchase to join the 60 day challenge.

July has 2 workout programs on sale...PiYo and the 21 Day Fix in Spanish. The 21 Day Fix in English is not on sale, but it is worth the investment in your health. I always suggest the 21 Day Fix for people who are just starting out. I do not provide meal plans for this program only because it comes with specific portion control containers, a food list and recipes...so you do not need meal plans from me on this program since it already has them. Just a note, if you want to do the 21 day fix for the first 30 days, then switch to low carb paleo, that's fine too. It is all up to you and what you prefer, but I suggest checking out all your options and going from there. If you have limitations or a certain time frame to work out, please let me know and I can help you choose something that would suit your needs.

If you have any questions about any of the programs, the 60 day challenge or anything on my website, please email me! FoodIMakeMySoldier@yahoo.com

I look forward to helping you reach your health and fitness goals!! Make 2014 YOUR year to get lean, fit and healthy from the inside-out!!