Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Line-up

Last night I had dinner with a friend (hello friend, if you're reading ;) ) and she mentioned that she wouldn't be able to find the time to make all this food if she were to go paleo.  She doesn't necessarily want to go paleo, but she was just sayin'.

I get that.  It is a lot of work.  But I don't think it's a paleo thing, I think any time you are trying to feed your family the freshest, least-processed food possible, it simply takes more time and effort.  Even if you're not paleo, making snacks and meals from scratch means more time in the kitchen.  Believe me, most mornings would be easier if I just poured a bowl of cereal for my kiddos or made some instant oatmeal in the microwave (ew.  We don't even have a microwave anymore ) But I suck it up and make some eggs, some humanely, properly raised chicken sausage, and maybe throw in a grain-free, sugar-free muffin I made on Sunday :)

And sorry to those arguing that you can maintain optimal health while avoiding food preparation altogether with fruits, veggies and some nuts - I respectfully disagree.  Although there are some raw meat paleo peeps who have it pretty good when it comes to avoiding prep time in the kitchen!  Not my thing, but a completely raw paleo diet actually makes the most sense to me.

There are, of course, many pre-made food options that cater to all dietary lifestyles.  As far as the paleo lifestyle goes, sometimes (gasp!) I do go the easier route and buy some packaged food.  However, this often means skimping on quality and savings.  For example,  I could buy organic vegetable soup in a can or box.  But I choose to buy all the veggies local and fresh and to sometimes use my own homemade chicken broth.  This also means less packaging waste and avoiding cans (not so good for ya).  I could also spend more money and buy Lara bars (often I do) instead of making them myself.  I could also spend more money and buy beef jerky instead of making it myself.  I could also buy pre-made kale chips (outrageously expensive!) instead of making them myself.  I could go on and on.  Some things I can't just buy pre-made (hard-boiled eggs and certain specialty baked items, just to use some examples).

A few no-brainers that do still fit into this lifestyle as complementary foods are fruits, veggies, and nuts:  no preparation necessary (unless you choose to soak and dehydrate your nuts, which I do, but that's a whole other post :)  A lot of times I simply choose to make some things from scratch because my kids really want a certain "snacky" item that isn't very healthy and I am trying to replicate it with paleo ingredients.  I don't want the poor kids to feel left out and go off the deep end one day.  Actually, come to think of it, if I were just feeding myself, I would spend very little time in the kitchen.  I'm pretty easy to please and I like to keep things simple :)

In some ways, the paleo lifestyle has made my life easier, and in some ways harder.  I feel like it's pretty easy to remember what I can eat:  *real* food.  It's fairly simple to meal plan:  each meal usually contains a protein (animal sourced), a healthy fat, and a veggie or two (not too complicated, right?)  The tricky part comes when I need to get something on the go.  There are limited options.  It is actually frightening how few convenience stores and restaurants cater to a real foods lifestyle.  Even if they have fresh fruits and veggies, restaurants are sorely lacking when it comes to the oils they prepare their food in.  Most restaurants add nasty unhealthy oils to their food (also, try going into a 7-11 and finding a bag of nuts that isn't chock full of omega-6 oils and table salt, not to mention the whole organic factor) and the meat they use is enough to make one turn vegetarian (It did for me at one point, until I learned how healthy properly raised and treated animals products are).

I decided to add all this information because like my friend, others reading about my Sunday kitchen happenings might also be overwhelmed thinking about all that cooking.  You will have to do some cooking if you choose to eat this way (unless you go the raw route, yes many paleo peeps eat raw meat), but you could easily try to find most of the items in the grocery store, whichever dietary lifestyle you follow. 

All that said, I choose to do most of my cooking in one time block to save time and hassle throughout the week.  My reasons for cooking all this healthy scrumptious food myself are:

-I know what is going into our food
-I save some money making things myself
-I use fresher ingredients than the store-bought stuff
-Some specialty items specific to this lifestyle can't be found in any store - like the dip I made today - I wanted to use my own healthy mayonnaise, although I probably could have found a similar version at the store. 
-I actually enjoy it :)

Soooo, today I made this:

-Hard-boiled eggs
-Coconut flour waffles (minus the raisins)
-Chicken drumsticks

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Line-up

So last week we were out of town and I therefore spent my Sunday wondering why we take road trips with small children frolicking in the snow with my family (post regarding staying paleo on the road coming soon :) ).

Today I made up for it by making these bad boys:

*hard-boiled eggs

*soaked and dried almonds and walnuts

*veggie soup

*homemade ground beef jerky

*chicken drumsticks

*nut butter balls (I am totally addicted to these things YUMMERS)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Sunday Line-Up

Hello Friends,

As some of you know, I spend most of my Sundays preparing food for the week ahead.  I love to cook.  Although, admittedly, sometimes all this work seems like a chore, the gratifying end result is totally worth all the effort.  I love opening the fridge to find all the fresh, yummy, healthy, made-from-scratch food I lovingly made for my family.  Plus, those few extra hours in the kitchen pay off when I don't even have to think about most meals and snacks the coming week.

And I thank my husband for supporting and encouraging my efforts :)

So, with all that said, I'm going to post my Sunday kitchen happenings right here.  Lately I've been feeling kind of turned-off to blogging - not to other bloggers ( I looooove lurking and visiting other blogs for inspiration :), but for some reason I sometimes feel like "Look at me!  I'm sooo special!"  But I figured I may take my own efforts for granted sometimes and realized, hey, I am special, and maybe some of my ideas just might inspire others :)

Thank you for visiting my humble little blog, sweet followers :)

This week:

* Kale chips

* Hard-boiled eggs

* Paleo Sweet Potato bread

* Homemade jello

* Veggie soup (Nourishing Traditions homemade chicken broth, or lately I've been lazy and have been using Imagine organic free range chicken broth - three boxes, two cloves garlic, one onion, two red bell peppers, five zucchinis, seven carrots, one bunch kale, one bunch spinach, one head cabbage, three sticks celery) (This soup is awesome.  For some reason, my whole family loves it and asks for it all the time.  It's a great little side to go with lunch or dinner during the week and a great way to get tons of veggies in your kiddos!)

* Nut Butter Balls

* Grain-free biscuits (from this book) (to go with veggie soup)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Easy Salmon Rolls

Here's a quick recipe that's fun for the kiddos to make!  My five year old had so much fun making these, and even more fun eating them!  I made these in a pinch so I didn't have the time to add more ingredients, but I could see adding shredded veggies like carrots or cabbage, or even some avocado slices in there.  The possibilities are endless.


*Small can of wild salmon (or tuna, or sardines - my kids gobble sardines up!) - approx. 4 ounces
*2 Tbsp mayonaise
*Nori sushi sheets (I used these)


1.  Mix fish with mayonaise
2.  Spoon fish/mayo mixture evenly along one end of the nori sheet.
3.  Roll to desired thickness.  You can make these as large or as small as you want.
4.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Placentophagy - Consuming Your Own Placenta

Why yes, I did consume my own placenta.  In pill form, that is.  I learned soooo much during my last pregnancy and one of the things I was eager to try was placenta encapsulation.  Why, you ask?  Placenta offers some great information on placentophagy (I used Placenta Joy for my encapsulation services).  I can tell you that the days I forgot to take my "pills" I noticed a difference in my mood and energy levels.  And I don't know if it had to do with the home birth, my nutrition, or just plain knowing what to do this time around, but I had more than enough milk and breastfeeding was a lot easier.  I also had very little bleeding.  I highly recommend placenta encapsulation if you're not down for straight up eating your own placenta!

Here is some info regarding placenta encapsulation taken from Placenta

Placenta for Healing
by Jodi Selander

Many people of the world have known the secret power of the placenta as a medicinal supplement. Among the Chinese and Vietnamese, it is a customary practice to prepare the placenta for consumption by the mother. The placenta is thought to be rich in nutrients that the mother needs to recover more readily from childbirth. In Italy, women have been known to eat parts of the placenta to help with lactation. Hungarian women bite the placenta to expedite the completion of labor. And knowledgeable midwives in this country have their birth mothers take bites of raw placenta to help stop hemorrhaging, due to its beneficial oxytocin content.

There are a variety of potential benefits to placentophagy. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women.

Research on placentophagy is still in its infancy, although there is a large body of research beginning to develop on postpartum hormone fluctuations and health. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that focused on CRH (Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone). CRH is a stress reducer, and is generally produced by the hypothalamus. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms.1 They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it. Once the placenta was born, it took some time for the hypothalamus to get the signal that the CRH levels were low, and to begin producing it again. This is just another sign that there is likely a biological cause for the baby blues, directly related to hormone levels.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using placenta medicinally for thousands of years. One of the well-known TCM uses for placenta, or Zî hé chē, is to help with insufficient lactation.2 Interestingly enough, in 1954, researchers conducted a study on 210 women who were expected to have insufficient milk supply. They gave dried placenta to the women, and discovered that 86% of them had a positive increase in their milk production within a matter of days.3 It is exciting to see that some scientific research has validated TCM theories of the benefits of placenta. More recent research has discovered that placentophagia could enhance pain tolerance by increasing the opium-like substances activated during childbirth.4 This would obviously be beneficial during the postpartum healing process.

In my personal experience, women who have taken placenta capsules report positive results in an overwhelming number of cases. Some women have even reported feeling positive effects as quickly as the same afternoon of the day they began their first dose. Women who were already feeling "weepy", or experiencing other early signs of the baby blues, have felt better within days. Although the current scientific research is exciting, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the potential benefits of placentophagy. Considering that placenta is a completely natural substance, created by a woman's own body, encapsulation of the placenta is definitely worth considering as part of a holistic postpartum recovery for every expectant woman.
1. Baby blues - postpartum depression attributed to low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone after placenta is gone; Discover; Dec 1995.
2. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica.
3. Placenta as a Lactagogon; Gynaecologia 138: 617-627, 1954.
4. Placenta ingestion by rats enhances δ- and κ-opioid antinociception, but suppresses μ-opioid antinociception; DiPirro, J.M. and Kristal M.B., Brain Research 1014: 22-23, 2004.
The following is adapted fromPlacentophagia by Melissa Baker - reprinted with permission. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Augments Qi (energy) and Xue (Blood) and therefore tonifies Yang, Yin and Jing (Vital Essence).
Brief Explanation:

All foods have properties that can benefit the body, depending on the body type and other factors. Placenta is considered to be a very powerful medicine as it is life giving and stores the vital essence for the baby. Placenta is often included in traditional medicinal combinations with restorative functions.

Generally we cannot directly tonify the vital essence as it is over a process of years that this is built up. Firstly there is the Qi that comes from what we consume. Some of this Qi is then turned into Xue (Blood) after digestion and stored in the Liver. If the body is producing enough Blood (via good health practices) it is then transported from the Liver to the Kidneys and Marrow (in TCM the Kidneys control the Bone Marrow) and becomes Jing. There are two types of Jing: pre-natal and post-natal. Pre-natal Jing is the reason why pre-natal care is so important for future health. It comes from the sperm and ova during conception and cannot be replenished. Post-natal Jing can be replenished but it takes many years. Pregnancy is taxing on the body and can drain Qi, Xue and Jing (in that order) even if the mother follows the best of health regimes.

More specifically, placenta pills may help to:

 Increase general energy
 Allow a quicker return to health after birth
 Increase production of breast milk
 Decrease likelihood of baby blues and post natal depression
 Decrease likelihood of iron deficiency
 Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders

The body is so individual and because of the powerful nature of this medicine other benefits are also likely but too numerous to mention. I believe that this practice is particularly beneficial to vegetarian mothers and those prone to post natal depression.

Other Considerations

It is best to check with your midwife or health care professional to be sure that your placenta is healthy and able to be eaten. It may be best to just ask if it is healthy, depending on your relationship with your caregiver.


Not to be used in heat conditions or for people with the presence of pathogenic factors, including common cold and mastitis.