If you don’t like dogs, I don’t like you

If you don’t like dogs, I’m not sure I like you…

Sometimes things are just meant to be…at least that’s how I see this past week.

Since moving to southern Mississippi I’ve been tossing around the idea about getting a dog. I always grew up with dogs and find their unconditional love incredibly therapeutic.

Last weekend, I decided to check out the local shelter’s page of available dogs and ran across a picture of a Great Dane who looked like she needed tons of love. My cousin, Shannon and our friend, Emily, all hopped in the car and took a ride to check out “Cleopatra”. It was LOVE at first sight! As soon as I took her for a short walk around the shelter property I knew she was the right dog for me. She was shy but soon warmed up and was covering me with kisses and “hugs”. I signed the adoption papers that day.

The amazing staff at the shelter told me they were really getting concerned that she wasn’t going to find her forever home because she is so big, can easily jump a six-foot fence and is heartworm positive. Luckily, we have a 12-foot fence in the backyard, big, goofy dogs rock and I can afford to treat the heartworm. 

I got to pick up my new pupeen yesterday afternoon and it has been amazing how well she has integrated in to our pet crazy home. Our house has 4 girls, 3 dogs and 4 kitties…unbelievably; NoLa has blended in seamlessly besides the fact that she had never been around cats until yesterday.

Since I got her home yesterday, her demeanor has changed almost 100%. Less than 24 hours ago I brought home a terrified, skinny, horribly neglected (prior to the shelter taking her in) Great Dane and today, she is a smiling, tail wagging, PLAYING dog. It’s amazing how resilient animals are and how they give their love so freely, I hope she is feeling a sense of relief that she is in her forever home and will never again have to worry about being fed, loved or taken care of in only the best possible way.

I think I needed her just as much, if not more, than she needed me.

Now the real question….what am I going to feed my new Paleo Pup!? Sweet potatoes and liver for the nutrient-density-win!!!

If you don’t like dogs, I don’t like you

I’m a Yankee

 

 

I’m a Yankee

So, as a born and bred new Englander, moving down to southern Mississippi has been quite the culture shock. Half the time I feel like an idiot because I either have no idea what someone is saying or I just nod my head and pretend

Just for some context, I found this picture on peopleofwalmart.com and it was taken in my neighborhood HA!

 

Some things I’ve learned my first month as a southerner:

  1. When someone says they are “fixing to do…” It doesn’t mean they are actually going to fix something, it means they are getting ready to go or do something
  2. An apple is considered a vegetable in this part of the country.
  3. If it’s not fried, it’s not dinner.
  4. Overalls never did and never will go out of style.
  5. When a stranger talks to you they are usually genuinely being nice, not a creep like in NYC.
  6. “Bless your heart” doesn’t mean someone is saying a prayer over your actual heart, they just either pity you or want to talk trash (but it’s ok because they blessed your heart first).
  7. Greens do not dissolve even if they are cooked for a year, grey is the new green.
  8. If you can’t make your regular church service, don’t fret! There are at least 10 churches within walking distance to your home.
  9. Camo and rhinestones is a match made in heaven, even better if you have a matching purse and wallet.
  10.  Grits are on the $1 menu at McDonalds. Enough said. 

It is not my intent to offend anyone with my post, just my experience so far.

Hope Y’ALL have a great day!

 

I’m a Yankee

Pack Yo’ Lunch!

PACK YO’ LUNCH!

One of the best ways that I save a lot of cash and fuel myself with nourishing food is to pack my food every single day.

Here is how I put together my work food for a shift this week:

 

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Lunch – chicken salad, sweet peas and roasted sweet potatoes

Snacks:

Proscuitto wrapped dates

Wholly guacamole single serve packs

Beef jerky

Cut up fresh veggies

Almond butter squeeze pack

Mini Kind bar

Jerky and coconut flakes

 

I never know how much time I am going to have to sit down to eat so I really try to focus on foods that are nutrient dense but easy to eat on the run.

Some of the ways I make it easier for myself to throw stuff together quickly is to:

  1. Prep big batches of food all on one day – throw a bunch of chicken boobs in the slow cooker, roast sweet potatoes and cut up veggies
  2. Even though it’s more expensive, I like to get the single serving packs of stuff like nut butter and guacamole – easy to squeeze and eat on the run and provide a healthy serving of fats to keep me/you satisfied
  3. Buy stuff on Amazon!
  4. Remember when your Mom told you to get yourself organized the night before? Well SHE WAS RIGHT! Yes, I am yelling at you!

If you fail to prepare you prepare to fail!

 

Aside

Change

….is hard! I know someone is playing a tiny violin somewhere for me….

I recently decided to make a huge life decision and move myself almost completely across the country to southern Mississippi for a fantastic job opportunity. As exciting as a new job and super mild winters were, I was completely terrified. My whole life I lived within two hours of my family and had never spent more than a few weeks apart from my boyfriend, this was going to be scary stuff!

Well, here I am, three weeks in to it and yeah it’s just as scary and difficult as I thought it would be and more. They say what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and I am really holding on to that thought. I’m sure we can all look back at times that were hard for us and realize that not only are we better because of them but it shaped us in to the people we are today, easy times don’t make you but hard times sure do!

I was prepared for a culture shock but I was not prepared for how different the food and even grocery stores are down here! Sometimes it feels like a completely different country with all the new products I see.

Next time I head to the grocery store I’m going to make sure to get some shots of new-to-me foods…

 And just because everyone could use a laugh…

Image

 

Aside

Cheap, Fat and Almost Dead!!

 

One of the most common complaints I hear from people is “eating healthy is soooooo expensive.” Whenever I hear this steam comes out of my ears and they probably start bleeding from annoyance…yeah my apple costs a little more than your bag of Doritos but my apple also doesn’t come with yellow 5 lake or MSG.  Why is a food coloring called lake by the way? Scary.

 

It seems as though people lose sight of the future when they are making health decisions. It’s kind of like smoking cigarettes, it probably won’t affect you terribly immediately but you will most likely suffer serious complications sometime down the road. The same goes for our diets…the Doritos taste great now but what are they giving us nutritionally that are body’s can use to build cells and keep us healthy? Absolutely nothing. In fact, we are LESS healthy from eating them! Same goes for a lot of the other processed junk out there….if your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize the ingredients in something…DO NOT BUY IT!

We are spending more on health care than ever before so wouldn’t it make sense that we are healthier than ever?  Um NO. The obesity epidemic in this country is continuing to rise along with a host of other lifestyle driven chronic diseases…. unsurprisingly a lot of these health issues could’ve partially been prevented through simple diet changes.

I wanted to see where American’s are spending their grocery dollars and if the money being spent on food is contributing to the obesity/disease epidemic and sure enough it looks like it is….

Breakdown of Grocery Spending

In 1950 American’s spent 11.6% of their grocery dollars on sweets and treats, in 2012 that number has risen to 22.9%.  Also, we are spending less on meat, mostly because the industrialization of the meat, poultry etc. industry is making crappy quality products dirt-cheap. Just as an example, bacon in 1950 was $5.20/lb, on average and today it is $4.53/lb. Is it just me or aren’t prices supposed to go up? Ya know, because of inflation?

Price List in 2012 Dollars

If people would just put down the Twinkies and pick up a grass-fed steak their food dollars would be so much better spent and their health would benefit too. Especially since grocery prices are lower today than they were fifty-something years ago, there is no excuse not to buy the best products you can afford…outside of junk food.

Cheap, Fat and Almost Dead!!

Penny Pinching Paleo

We are all on a budget and if you’re not…well…must be nice and can you donate some grass-fed beef my way? Thanks! Anyways, one of the greatest things you can do to save money in the long run is to take care of yourself.

By choosing nutrient dense foods, creating healthy habits, SLEEPING and getting some movement in you are filling up your health tank. Think of it as a savings account, you put all this “money” which is you taking care of yourself consistently and then when you need to take some “money” out, say when you’re sick or super stressed, you have a reserve fund to take from. Make sense? If you have money in the bank it’s a crises you can likely avoid, however, if you have to put it on your credit card…you end up paying for it for longer.

I can not express how important it so to get the best quality food you can afford whenever possible. This might mean you have to cut back on other areas of your life, say getting a manicure once a month instead of every week…or bringing coffee from home, you know the normal budget saving things. I don’t even look at it as a sacrifice but an investment into my future.

Without further ado – here is how I stay paleo on a budget…

  1. Buy a whole a chicken (the BEST quality you can afford) and roast it with whatever root veggies are on sale that week. Now you have an entire dinner but also tons of chicken left over for chicken salad (my favorite) or whatever else you want to turn it into. Save the carcass for  homemade broth, that’ll save you at least $3.99,  and,  it’s way tastier.
  2. Shop the back of the produce section. Usually there is a cart with veggies that the store isn’t able to sell in the normal produce section for whatever reason. Sometimes there are a little banged up but normally I can’t find anything wrong with them.
  3. Eat a lot of eggs. Where else can you find at least 4 meals of protein for less than $5.00 bucks? Bargain in my mind.
  4. Buy the fattier or less desirable cuts of grass-fed meat and USE YOUR SLOW COOKER, it’s magical.
  5. Shop at discount stores for shelf stable stuff. We have Ocean State Job Lot around where I live and I get all my condiments, olives, tuna, spices and tons of other stuff there. They also have Bob’s Red Mill products like coconut and almond flour for much less than Whole Foods or the grocery store. The inventory changes all the time so check back and you can sometimes find hidden organic gems.
  6. I use canned full-fat coconut milk as a coffee creamer…might sound a little strange but it is freakin’ delicious. Also, bonus for the fact that it is much cheaper than the coconut milk creamer sold in the refrigerated section and there is no added sugar or other weird ingredients. I just keep it in a small glass ball jar and a can usually lasts me about a week…YUM!
  7. Grow your own herbs. Herbs can get really expensive and don’t often last long when you buy them at the store. Pick up small pots of whatever herbs you use most often and grow them on your windowsill. I got organic basil and parsley at my local grocery store for $1.99 each and they are still going strong…
  8. This is an obvious one, buy what is on sale. Not only will you save a few bucks but also it will force you to have some variety in your diet. Never a bad thing.

Although it might seem that eating paleo/grain-free is more expensive than the SAD (Standard American Diet) you CAN make it fit into a budget.

For as much as our bodies do for us, providing good, nutrient dense food is the least we can do for it.

Go eat some raw sauerkraut!

Penny Pinching Paleo

Paleo Naner-Blueberry Bread

Paleo Naner – Blueberry bread

We’ve all been there, you have bananas that are basically fossilized on your kitchen counter. Pre-paleo days I would of whipped them up in to my boyfriend’s grandma’s seriously awesome banana bread…but…now that I’m mostly grain-free I wanted to still make a banana bread but without flour and refined sugar. Definitely a tall order but I was excited to see if I could make it work and work it did…

I made my banana-berry bread in too big glass pan so I would recommend using a loaf pan, round cake pan or even a small 8×8 pan. Just remember my baking times are based off the pan I used so keep an eye on your bread while it’s in the over!

Paleo Banana-Blueberry Bread

4 bananas

4 eggs

1 tbs vanilla extract

½ cup coconut oil

1 ½ cups almond flour

½ coconut flour

Pre-heat oven to 375 F

  1. Mash the naners until they are soupy
  2. Crack in the eggs, add vanilla, coconut oil and mix until combine…it should smell awesome at this point
  3. Add flours and it will be THICK,  don’t worry!
  4. GENTLY fold in the blueberries the best you can
  5. Spread into your pan of choice and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges start to lightly brown.
  6. Cool!

Since this bread is sugar free it’s super important that your bananas are borderline rotten. This is a very dense bread and not your typical banana bread texture but it’s awesome tasting! Hope you like it!

 

Paleo Naner-Blueberry Bread