Paleo Backpacking

Grain Free, Hiking, Paleo, Portland, Primal, Travel, Whole Eating

Jess n Me

Summer is upon us and for many who live in the Pacific Northwest, that means backpacking season is here! I have always struggled to find amazing food options for the trail that fit into the paleo lifestyle. Unless you want to be eating dehydrated meat all the time, it’s been one of the hardest tasks! Not to mention the cost. So this summer I am taking it upon myself to stick to paleo eating even when hiking and backpacking.

From experience, dehydrating your own meat is really not that hard and the same goes with fruits and vegetables…easy easy easy. I wanted to give some practical ideas that you can run with when thinking about preparing food for backpacking – following is a list of things I will be trying!

Portland woods

– Beef stew {dehydrated beef, dehyd. broccoli, dehyd. carrots, dehyd. peas, dehyd. yam, beef bullion}

– Nut granola bars

– Muesli (nuts, seeds, ground flax seed, dates, dried apple/fruit}

– Dehyd. Chicken and cheese sauce {{*For those who eat dairy}}

–   Salami slices, jerky, cheese and coconutter squares

 

These are just ideas I’m tossing around. I know there will be a lot more planning when the time comes to actually put it together, but the day hikes I know I want to go on will be good trial runs.

What kind of meals do you take on the trail with you? Any recipes you’d like to share?

 

 

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Healthy Choices Today::Happier Tomorrow

Health, Paleo, Primal, Uncategorized, Whole Eating

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The choices we make with our health today will assuredly effect your life tomorrow. Now maybe not literally the hours following the day your living now, but future tomorrows. I’m here to encourage you to start your journey OR continue your path towards finding health. It’s not always easy, but nothing worth its weight in gold comes easily! Here’s some ideas to get you back in the game of being a more healthy you!


– When you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack

– Craving something sugary/sweet? Choose berries, apples, pomegranates, or other delicious fruit instead of a processed treat

Kale chips are a GREAT substitute for potato chips

– Try eating an avocado for breakfast or lunch. Adding more healthy fats and eating less sugar will help curb your cravings and make you feel full longer

– Cook with coconut oil rather than olive oil which breaks down into an unhealthy fat when heated at high temps

– Add coconut oil into your breakfast smoothie before you blend it

– Try a new vegetable this summer

Fighting PCOS Proactively by Eating Paleo

Health, My Story, Paleo, PCOS, Personal, Primal, Uncategorized, Whole Eating

PCOS

What is PCOS?

At it’s core, PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) is an imbalance of hormones in a women’s body. The male sex hormone, though produced at small levels in women, starts over producing thus causing a harmful cycle in a women’s body that eventually causes her to experience symptoms associated with PCOS. In most cases not all of the symptoms will appear which might make the person getting diagnosed question whether it was an accurate assessment. Usually a blood test ordered by a physician will give conclusive evidence as to whether or not a women’s hormones are out of balance. In some cases, cysts form on the ovaries which can be triggers to hormone imbalance. One of the big caveats to PCOS is insulin resistance, which is where the paleo diet comes into play. Long term, insulin resistance can lead to diabetes which brings a whole slew of other health related issues.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Acne
  • Irregular/Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Weight gain/trouble losing weight
  • Abnormal hair growth (face, chest, stomach)
  • Depression
  • Infertility

Causes

From what I know, there is no conclusive evidence on what triggers PCOS in a women’s body. Some say genetics. Personally, while I think genetics might be at play, I also strongly feel that diet plays a much bigger role in the prevalence of PCOS, particularly in America where packaged, processed and genetically modified foods are staple foods.  Weight also plays a crucial role (for most women, not all) in those diagnosed with PCOS. Usually, obese/overweight women are at a higher risk though in some cases, ladies of smaller stature and weight may find they too are victims of hormonal imbalance. For some, losing just 10% of their body weight can reduce or diminish their symptoms.

Help from Essential Oils

I am definitely no expert, but from personal experience I know the feeling of hopelessness and confusion when first diagnosed with PCOS. Frustration at the thought of infertility. Feeling overwhelmed with losing weight when just looking at a french fry seems to add 5 pounds to your waist line. Embarrassed by being a 20 something year old who still has facial acne. It’s a real struggle, so I know where your at!
One the natural ways I encouraged my bodies hormones to level out was with the use of an essential oil from Young Living called Progessence Plus which was designed to lower estrogen levels which would cause an increase in progesterone. I would rub it right above my fore arm (in the elbow pit area…is that even a location?!) and neck twice daily. Within two days I noticed a HUGE difference. My menstrual cycle started and my emotions began to balance out. A helpful web page with good information has been put out by Experience Essential Oils, I highly recommend checking it out!

Natural Supplements

After doing some research, my mom and I stumbled across Insulite Laboratories who’s main focus is helping women deal with PCOS by using nutraceuticals. Sticking to their routine of taking their natural supplements, eating healthy and exercising I noticed a change in my health once again. My period became regular and normalized to being once a month, weight loss became easier, and my emotions had less ups and downs. Working with them was easy and their informative supportive staff were able to give a support system I had yet to find. 

Paleo and PCOS

One of the biggest lifestyle changes that will benefit a women with PCOS is diet and exerciser. The paleo diet, high in protein, vegetables and low sugar fruits, helps reduce inflammation and naturally encourages weight loss by throwing out processed sugars (which encourage weight gain) and starchy carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta and bread. A focus on eating healthy fats such as avocados, animal fats, coconut oil, flax meal (just to name a few) encourage your body to get full and stay full longer thus curbing hunger causing you to eat less. Studies have shown that processed sugars can be triggers to many health related issues other than just PCOS and as American’s sugar is in almost every food we eat. Go read some labels in your fridge to see! In her post on fats we should eat, the Paleo Mom gives helpful tips for cooking with fat as well as foods to include in your diet.

Another helpful aspect of the paleo diet when talking about PCOS is that by limiting sugars, your own blood sugar levels will begin to balance out. Decreasing blood sugar spikes decreases the risk of acquiring diabetes which is one of the major concerns when dealing with PCOS. Two of the sweeteners allowed on a limited bases in the paleo diet are honey and maple sugar. Compared to their processed counterparts, these sweeteners have trace minerals that are valuable to your health. In an interesting article about sugar, The Paleo Mom notes that sugar is sugar at its core that that in general, we should limit our intake of all sugars, not just the processed ones.

Conclusion

I am by no means a doctor, dietician or naturopath, as with everything don’t just take my word for these supplements, oils and diet suggestions but be a lover of learning your body…you will never regret it!

 

 

Faces of Paleo : Brenda

Faces of Paleo, Health, Interviews, Paleo, Paleo Treats, Primal, Uncategorized, Whole Eating

As a blogger trying to find content that educates, encourages and gives you enjoyment I have decided to find people who have their own paleo journey and interview them for the benefit of my readers. Getting to know people at a personal level and find out about their health journey is such a fun experience for me as it shows that there isn’t one right way to “be healthy”. Yes, there are healthy choices, but the way we work those healthy choices into our daily lives will look differently for everyone. Because of that, I will occasionally have posts labeled “Faces of Paleo” that will be interactive in nature and something both you and I can learn and be encouraged by.

 

Today I want to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine who I met through church a few years back who’s name is Brenda. Her sweet personality, love for the Lord and more recently her embrace of eating paleo have encouraged a friendship between us that has been fun to see grow. I first learned of her decision to start eating paleo last winter when I noticed she was slimming down and looking quite healthy. When I asked Brenda what she was doing, her reply “I’m eating paleo, cutting out sugars and grains!” I was beyond excited and know you’ll enjoy what I learned from her in our time together.


1-Brenda

How long have you been eating paleo?
Since January 2nd 2014

What are your go to recipe sources?
Against All Grain for finding amazing recipes
   Practical Paleo for amazing resources, information and background for eating paleo

Why did you decide to start eating paleo?
My main reason for starting the paleo lifestyle was my health. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cycstic Ovarian Syndrome) through lab work as I had no major symptoms. Through research on how to treat PCOS naturally, I found the blog Against All Grain.

What have been the hardest foods to give up?
Cheese and specifically, cheese quesadillas. I was literally dreading giving up those.

What were the hardest parts of learning to cook paleo?
Figuring out meal plans for two people with different diet differences, one being paleo and the other eating a normal American diet. Also, having variety in the foods you eat.

What was your solution to cooking for two different palets?
If I made a dish that called for cheese, I would omit the cheese on half for me and put chesse on the other half for my husband.

What kind of sweetener did you find most useful and what treats were your favorite?
Maple syrup for my sweetner
Cobbler, scones and avocado pudding were my go to treats

What kind of things would you eat for snacks?
Almonds, fruit, carrots and cellery. My favorite was roasted almonds that I would flavor with cinnamon and nutmeg or Tuscan seasonings.

What has been the hardest thing about eating paleo?
Eating out as most restaurants don’t have paleo options. My solution – order food and have them take off the non-paleo food items.

Have you noticed a difference with your body?
Yes, my stomach went way…had little belly fat. It was replaced with more of a lean muscle tone (she supplemented her eating lifestyle with going to the gym 3 times a week which was less than she had been going before going paleo). In four months I lost 15 pounds.

Did you ever eat non paleo items?
I ate 95% paleo and the other 5% splurges would be beans a few times a month. I decided to just do it cold turkey!

Words of advice?
Forget what somethings is supposed to taste like and focus on finding “new” recipes that you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Freedom in Living Healthy

Food, Health, My Story, Paleo, Personal, Primal, Travel, Whole Eating

I was recently asked why I had moved towards eating paleo. I realized many people probably think that the “Paleo Diet” is just another fad diet like the Atkins diet, South Beach Diet or Keto Diet. For me, what sets my eating habits apart from other diets is that I’ve taken on the view that this is a life style change, not just a lose weight get quick results eating plan. Because I’ve noticed just a vast difference in my health and body, I can tell you this way of life definitely works. Now, is it for everyone? Is there room to make it fit you and your family? By all means!

If your like me, coming to the realization that you can’t eat like the rest of society can be a difficult thing to accept. Over the last four years of my life – after I started realizing my health was suffering, I felt sick and tired many days, my skin was red and irritated and that doctors had no real solution to any of my problems, I come to the conclusion that a diet change was the answer.

   Knowing since I was young that dairy effected my stomach, that was obviously the first thing to go.Within the next two years, I decided to go on a six week missions trip to Albania where much of the food I ate had some component of carbohydrates/wheat products. I came home sick as a dog, exhausted, and ready for things to change.
    I quickly started eating a super strict diet, slept hours on end, and drank lots of water over the course of the rest of the summer – because of this, I lost 20 pounds and at some level felt more like a “normal”  – whoever can definite that for me, props to you! – person. Right after that summer, I left for 3.5 months to live and study abroad in Israel where again, though I ate healthier than when Albania, I still didn’t know exactly what bothered me and would eat hummus and pita almost every day. Coming home from Israel, through the encouragement of my mom, I started researching different eating lifestyles (yes, eating is a lifestyle, not just dieting off and on). With the encouragement of a close friend who was herself having some health issues, we both cut completely out of our diet such things as peanut butter, all wheat products, all sugars (even fruit), dairy products, and legumes (beans). Withing a week I was feeling immensely better. had more energy and no longer felt in a fog.
For the next year I bounced back and forth from eating carbs and products with wheat in them only to realize that every time I did, I felt sick and my skin would look like garbage. (You really are what you eat 😛 ). Finally, two summers ago, I decided I was fed up with this yo-yoing in  how I ate and started researching what was called the paleo lifestyle . Broken down, basically what I have selection from is ANY vegetables, meat, seeds and nuts, fruits, and occasionally (like once a day) I’ll sneak in a dairy product (super strict paleo eaters don’t even allow this). I know I had mentioned that dairy bothered me, but I’ve found that in all actuality I’m bothered by other foods more and that if I eat dairy in a very limited moderation, I can handle it just fine. If your wondering if I can still eat baked goods and yummy food, YES, I can! Many nuts and seeds can be made into flour and used as substitutes.
Through my continued exploration of eating paleo, I have felt better than ever before and I hope to share with you through this blog the freedom of getting in touch with your body and enjoying life more fully!

Paleo In A Package

Food, Health, Paleo, Paleo friendly stores, Paleo Treats, plantains, Primal, Uncategorized, Whole Eating

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Eating raw can be a lot of work. Hard work. In an attempt to get away from packaged foods which are full of preservatives, sugars, and ingredients it would take a stack of dictionaries to pronounce their names, the paleo way is a hands on make it yourself lifestyle. This can be tiring and disappointing, especially for those who have little time available to be slaving away in their kitchen. So, for those of you who understand how difficult it can be and to those of you just getting started with this way of eating, I have some great news for you! As I was out running errands today I happened to be in TJ Maxx. Browsing their food isle, I was delighted to find several paleo packaged food options! Now, this might sound like an oxymoron, but I assure you, I am telling the truth.

One of the products I bought to try was made by Laughing Giraffe Organics, and my one complaint is that instead of using maple syrup or honey as a sweetener, they chose agave. Now, I’m my humble opinion, agave isn’t the worst choice, but it’s also not the best and it’s definitely not categorized as “paleo”. With that aside, their Pineapple Snakaroons were phenomenal and made with raw ingredients (other than agave).

Another find was salted plantain chips…no sugar added. To.Die.For! The brand, Turbana, uses simple ingredients to make a delicious product. I bought their lightly salted Plantain Chips, but TJ Maxx had at least two other flavors – Chile Lime and Sweet (not paleo sweetner). I opted for the lightly salted as the other options had small amounts of non-paleo sugar added.

Other items I saw there were chia seeds, products from Two Mom’s in the Raw, fine ground flax seeds, organic cocoa powder, coconut oil supplements and nut and seed clusters. This might not be an exhaustive list as I’m going off of memory, needless to say, I was over the top excited!

So, if you lead a busy life whether it be with a career, running kids around, school, athletics or church and need some easy energy food, take a look at your local TJ Maxx. I know I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

The Paleo Bandwagon

Health, Paleo, Personal, Primal, Whole Eating

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We all have them…lapses in our drive to eat healthy and be proactive in finding new delicious recipes. I’m going to be totally honest and tell you, my readers, I’ve been slacking. One to many times of giving myself the okay to eat a delicious looking non-paleo friendly food item has led to a consistent pattern change. I can totally tell. My body feels it. My brain feels it. I’m here to ask two things…

1. I’m getting back on the bandwagon of eating the way I know makes my body feel best – paleo and I hope to use my daily meals as inspiration for you as well as an accountability for me.

2. If your having trouble getting back into the rhythm of clean eating or your starting to give in the unhealthy urges… Join me and start saying yes to health!

Cherry Walnut Almond Flour Cookies

Food, Paleo, Paleo Treats, Primal, Whole Eating

   The cookies I am going to share with you today are a unique cross between a cookie and a biscuit in texture. I over baked mine just a tad, but they still came out delicious. Also, I made quite a few substitutions as well as decreased the amount of sweetener I used in them.  As far as substitutions go, because I didn’t have any dried cherries on hand, I rehydrated some dehydrated coconut instead and used that. Also,  I used almond extract instead of vanilla extract (made them soooo yummy and nutty flavored). I would definitely make them again….just hopefully next time I have some kind of dried fruit (cherry, apricot, raisin) to put in them.
Recipe
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup sugar (for a less sweet cookie, only fill the quarter cup measurer 3/4 of the way full. Also, a good sugar substitute would be coconut sugar)
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup shredded coconut(rehydrated) or dried fruit of choice
1/3 cup chopped walnuts 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet making medium sized balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes.