Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Fever... Gone Primal

     Guess what ya'll?! It's Fall! My absolute favorite time of year. Cool weather, sweaters, boots, scarves, pumpkin flavored everything, warm fires, candles and my personal favorite, THANKSGIVING! The only day I allow myself to eat until I'm going to burst. So, with that said, being Primal always meant that I couldn't enjoy the delicious flavors of Fall... Until this year. I've been Primal for over a year now and I never knew how much fun I could still have with Fall foods. Here are a few of my favorite Fall recipes that I've been playing with a little bit. I'm definitely not disappointed with the outcome! 

1) Pumpkin Spice Latte. These were my Achilles Heel last Fall. I drank probably one a day for a month straight. And just so you know, if you're guilty of the Starbucks Fall Fever like I am, let me give you the nutritional facts of a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

Calories: 310
Fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 25mg
Sodium: 210mg
Carbohydrates: 49g (!!!)
Sugars (are you ready for this one?): 47g (Woah!!)

Yeah... last year at the end of Fall, I looked up the nutritional value of one of these babies and nearly cried. No wonder I totally plateaued! Anyway, here is the Primal/Paleo version (remember, this does not taste exactly like the Starbucks version. It has a very coconutty taste to it!) :
Serves 2
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • I cup strong, brewed coffee
  • ⅓ cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 6-8 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • Optional: whipped coconut cream, for garnish

  1. For the unsweetened coconut milk, scoop the solids off of the top of the can before measuring out a cup of the remaining liquid. Use the solids to whip with a little extra coconut sugar for the topping, if desired.
  2. In a blender, combine the cup of coconut milk with the coffee, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
  3.  Pour half of the mixture into each glass. Garnish with whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 276
Fat: 28.6g (remember, fat is your friend)
Cholesterol: 0g
Sodium: 18mg
Carbohydrates: 6g (much better!)
Sugars: 4g (whoo! Much, much better!)

2) Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili. This is not necessarily a Primal dish, but I modified the recipe to be Primal-ish. I omitted the corn and halfed the beans and added two more chicken breast to make it thicker because of the lack of ingredients. Here is the perfect Fall dinner:

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • One (1) 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)
  • One (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
  • Two (2) 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
  • One (1) 15 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 Cups chicken stock
  • 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder

1.) Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high. I added frozen chicken breasts to mine and cooked on high for about six hours. As long as the chicken is cooked – it’s done!
2.) Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.
3.) Top with cheese, sour cream, avocados – whatever sounds good to you!

3) Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread... Yeah, don't pass this one up!! So. Freakin. Good. It even passed the taste test of my non -Primal and extremely picky when it comes to healthy food, father. 

  • ·         1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • ·         3/4 cup of canned pumpkin ( not pie filling )
  • ·         3 eggs, whisked
  • ·         1/4 cup raw honey
  • ·         1 tsp baking powder
  • ·         1 tsp baking soda
  • ·         1 tbs cinnamon
  • ·         2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • ·         1 tsp of vanilla
  • ·         3 tbs of coconut oil, melted
  • ·         OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup of semisweet dark chocolate mini-chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand). You can also add nuts as a substitute, or this bread is awesome without anything!

1.       First combine all the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl
2.       Next, in a small bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together
3.       Now pour the wet ingredients into the larger dry ingredients bowl and stir until combined
4.       Fold in chocolate chips or nuts (OPTIONAL)
5.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
6.       Grease a bread pan of your choice (I made mine in an 8″ pan) and pour in the mix
7.       Bake at 350-degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick…if it comes out clean, the bread’s done

8.       Cool, slice, serve and enjoy!

4) Grain Free Cinnamon Muffins. 

For Muffin:

  • 2.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp pastured butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs (not pictured)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optionl                                      

For Frosting:
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon                          
1) For the muffins, mix flour, salt, soda, and cinnamon in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, mix the applesauce, butter, honey, and eggs. Incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. You can stir in raisins at this point or divide the batter and stir some raisins in half the batter. Pour into paper muffin cups in muffin tin.   Makes 10 regular size muffins (not Costco size!).
2) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Meanwhile, stir the cream and tapioca flour together until blended.  Then stir in maple syrup and cinnamon.  Frosting will be runny.
3) Once muffins are done, let cool for about 10 minutes.  Then take a toothpick and poke holes into the muffin top.  Spoon a bit of frosting onto the muffins and let it soak in through the holes.

5) Primal Walnut Pie Crust Pumpkin Pie!!! (this recipe is from

Ingredients For Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1)Blend walnuts, baking soda and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter and pulse until butter is mixed in.                                                                                                                                                    2) Scrape the batter into a 9-inch tart pan. You can use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter over the bottom and up the sides, but ultimately your fingers will be the best tool. Take your time smoothing and patting the batter out evenly. It’s better to spread the batter thinner across the bottom of the pan and thicker around the edges of the crust.                                                                                                                                      3) Place the pie on a cookie sheet (helps to keep the bottom from burning) and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.                                                                                                                             4)Remove the crust from the oven and pour your filling of choice inside. Bake again until filling is done.
Pumpkin Filling:
·         One 15-ounce can of pumpkin
·         1 cup canned coconut milk
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
·         1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
·         1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
·         pinch of sea salt
·         3 tablespoons maple syrup
·         1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (found the spice section of grocery stores)
·         3 eggs, whisked
1) Mix together all ingredients. Pour into the pre-baked crust. Don’t overfill the crust – you might have a little batter leftover.                                                                                                                                             2) Bake for 50 minutes. The center of the pie should be fairly firm and only jiggle a tiny bit if you shake the pan. Let the pie cool completely before cutting into it. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.                                     

That's all I have for ya'll this time. I've been baking up a storm on my days off so if you guys are interested in seeing more recipes, leave a comment down below to let me know! Or if you have any suggestions on dishes you would like me to primalize, comment below! Hope you guys enjoyed this, I know I sure enjoyed eating all this deliciousness!! Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What Is Primal?

     First off, thank you to everyone who has given me feedback about my first blog post! Second, I've already gotten so many questions about my lifestyle and I’m so excited to answer them all!
     The main question I got was, what the hell is Primal?! Well, let me start off by saying that Primal was the best thing that has happened to me. Our entire lives, we've been programmed to believe different things about what we should or shouldn't be putting into our bodies. It’s a constant cycle of “eat less fat! Fat is bad!” or “eat all carbs! Carbs are good!” or “Don’t eat carbs!” Or my least favorite, “To lose weight means you have to be hungry all the time!” No, no, no! I want you guys to keep an open mind about what I’m about to share with you. Everything that has been programmed into your heads about health and fitness is all extremely flawed.
     Everyone reading this right now most likely knows how it feels to be just mentally and physically exhausted. Always feeling like you’re in an all our sprint for the finish line, but never being able to reach it. I’ve been there. All I wanted to do was fall on my bed and never open my eyes again, to just sleep forever. I blame one thing for this feeling. CARBS! First off, I would like to talk about what the Primal Diet is. The idea behind this lifestyle is to reprogram your genes to the way they are supposed to be. To the way they were programmed in our ancestors 10,000 years ago. The things we eat and the things we do have influence our genes immensely. Our genes have an “on and off” switch, so to speak. We don’t have direct influence on the genes such as eye color, skin pigment, height, hair color, ect, but we do have direct influence on the genes such as muscle development, fat storage, inflammation and other aspects of health and longevity.  We've spent millions of years creating the perfect set of genes. Those who were unable to adapt died out and those who were too stupid, too slow, too lazy or had weak genetic traits were lost forever. Throughout the years, we have weeded out the genes that are not needed, creating the perfect human genetic recipe to survive and to be fit.  It is our given birthright to be fit, strong, and healthy. In fact, our genes expect us to be exactly that. 
     So where did the change come in? Agriculture. Technology. Factories. A growing population made food high in demand. So we created rice, pasta, bread, wheat ect. Around 7,000 years ago, the Egyptians had a mostly grain based diet. They had a significantly shorter life; they were less muscular and had lower bone density. Most of them only lived long enough to reproduce and died around the age of 30. However, anthropologists state that if it wasn’t for fatalities such as getting eaten by a lion, or by getting a fatal infection, primitive man would have lived to be up to 94 years old without medications or modern comforts!  Modern research in epigenetics and evolutionary biology confirms that we are genetically identical to our hunter-gatherer ancestors as well as our Egyptian ancestors. With our lifestyle choices, we have turned on the bad genes such as diabetes, cancers and other illnesses and we have turned off the ability to rely solely on our body’s fat storage for energy. We can still be the fit, healthy fat burning beast, but we just have to reprogram our genes.  And I’m going to tell you how.
     It’s time to throw out your general knowledge of nutrition. Our whole lives, it’s said that grains and wheat and fiber is good for you! Eat lots of it! Truth is, Grains and other agricultural foods is what are killing us. Processed carbohydrates drive excess insulin production in our bodies, which in turn can lead to weight gain. One piece of whole wheat bread can spike your blood sugar more than a tablespoon of table sugar.  If you don’t have excess body fat concerns or problems, grains still cause inflammation, fatigue and burnout. The most important concept of this diet is to set your genes back to your “factory setting” and be a healthy, fat burning beast! With all the excess carbs and sugars in our bodies, it signals the fat to hold onto itself since we have another fuel source. Here’s an example. You know that feeling at the beginning of your workout, when you’re about 10 minutes into your run and you feel like you’re about to die? Then at about 20-30 minutes into your workout you all of a sudden have a second wind? A burst of energy and you feel like you could run forever? That’s your body switching from carb burning to fat burning. Your body has burned off all the carbs and is now reaching into your fat storage for energy. So why not have the second wind at the beginning of your workout?! Going straight into your fat storage for energy? Makes sense huh? At least,  it did to  me.  
"What Can I Eat?"
It’s time to throw out your general knowledge of nutrition. Our whole lives, it’s said that grains and wheat and fiber is good for you! Eat lots of it! Truth is, Grains and other agricultural foods is what are killing us. Processed carbohydrates drive excess insulin production in our bodies, which in turn can lead to weight gain. If you don’t have excess body fat concerns or problems, grains still cause inflammation, fatigue and burnout. The most important concept of this diet is to set your genes back to your “factory setting.” With all the excess carbs and sugars in our bodies, it signals the fat to hold onto itself since we have another fuel source.  It’s time to start eating primal foods like meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, high quality fats and moderate consumption of high fat dairies and the sensible indulgence of dark chocolate and red wine. You will take on the Primal Eating Philosophy, which is freedom, no calorie counting, and no portion control. Eating to your heart’s content with total awareness of your natural cycles of satiety and hunger.
“That shit’s expensive. How can I afford it?”
I have two answers. One, you feel fuller longer from the fats and proteins you’re eating, therefore; you eat less. Answer number two; budget, people! Buy things on sale. Use coupons. Do what you have to do because it’s 100% worth it.

“How do I keep the weight off?”
That one’s easy. Will Power. Stay primal. You can eat as much as you want and never gain a pound. Just stay as active as you can and stay away from that fluffy, deliciously sinful bread. 

Government Food Pyramid

Primal Food Pyramid
     The first few weeks, you may feel even more tired and groggy, but that's your body switching from being a carb burner to being a fat burner. Sometimes it takes your body a while to adjust to the fact that it's not getting it's normal source of fuel. I know for me, every time I have a cheat meal, I feel terrible the next day. It's just not worth it. Stick by the Primal Food pyramid and you'll lose the fat as fast as if you were starving yourself. I haven't counted a single calorie since the say I turned myself into a cave woman. This lifestyle saved me, and it could be the very thing that saves you. If you are interested in it, I suggest you check out the book "21 Day Total Body Transformation" by Mark Sisson. Also, Check out the book "What Belly" by William Davis. If you don't believe me, those books have scientific proof. You can continue to eat foods like this:
And this:

And continue to feel like shit. While I eat food like this:

And still feel fantastic and just as satisfied! Stay Primal, my friends. 

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. What works for me, may not work for you. It takes will power and dedication.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

From Fatty to Fit

     Everyone knows that losing weight is not an easy thing. It's an emotionally and physically exhausting process. It's not a 30 day diet and BOOM, you're skinny. It takes dedication, motivation and determination. It takes pure willpower. It takes time. And most of all, it takes the right mindset. Losing weight to be "skinny" is not the right reason to lose weight. Losing weight to be healthy is the right reason to lose the pounds. For those of you who know me well, know that I have recently lost some weight. 30lbs to be exact. Now, I didn't lose this weight in a certain amount of time. I've been up and down for 3 years. But within this past year is when I truly made some changes in my life.
      My whole life I've been called fat. I can recall every single time that someone has said that word to me. I remember my grandpa telling me to watch what I'm eating then proceeded to say "MOOOOO." Calling me a cow was almost worse than just calling me fat. I remember staring in the mirror in 4th grade wondering why I had a fat roll around my tummy and my friends didn't. I remember wearing sweatshirts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. because I wanted to hide my body. I remember my first crush saying he didn't like me because I was fat. I remember breaking down in tears all through high school because I was FAT. This process hasn't just been a physical change for me. I've had to change my thought process. I had to learn to love myself the way I was first. Then I started the process of changing my physical appearance. And not because I wanted to be "skinny." But because I wanted to be FIT. I wanted to know what my body could do. I wanted to know how far I could push myself. I wanted to be able to run and run and not get tired. I wanted to know what it was like to be the fit friend! I wanted to be able to walk into a room and feel confident about myself and about my body. So let me tell you how I did it.
     I've always had a bit of chunk on me. I've never been really thin. But my story begins when I was 16. I had gotten up to the highest weight I've ever been. Almost 200 pounds. But I was in denial. I looked in the mirror and thought, "no, I'm not that fat." It wasn't until the summer going into my senior year that I really took a look at my lifestyle. I was playing tennis with my brother and his girlfriend. Everyone was having fun. But me? I was dying. I couldn't keep up and eventually I hit the sidelines watching my family and friends have fun while I sat there trying to catch my breath. I smoked, I drank, and I ate. That's about all. After the vacation, my grandma sent us pictures... And this was the first one of me.
This was a major wake up call. But still, I was in denial. Long story short, my mom was the one to tell me that I needed to lose weight. I was depressed, sick and fat. Time to make changes. So I joined Weight Watchers. I liked it because I got to eat whatever I wanted. In moderation, of course. I lost 20 pounds from WW then plateaued. I started falling back into old habits and I felt hungry all the time. I gained the weight back within a few months. Looking back now, this is the time that I can pinpoint all my medical issues. I went back to being depressed, sick and fat. The summer before going off the college, I got back on track and lost the weight again. Not all of it, but a majority. Soon after I had started college, the freshman 15 found me. Expect it was closer to the freshman 25. I didn't understand it. I was eating all my healthy whole grains and I didn't think I was eating very much. But yet, I was gaining more and more weight. I was constantly fatigued. I couldn't concentrate. I felt like I was in a fog all the time. And my worst nightmare... I developed acne. Bad acne. I was so sick. After my first year of college I was fat again. I was sick. And I was falling back into extremely bad habits. Summer 2012 I started my research. I started going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out why I was fat and sick. Turns out I was hypothyroid. Hypothyroid causes the metabolism to slow down causing weight loss to be a struggle. It was also throwing my hormones out of wack. Even after all the medications, I still felt awful. That's when I found Primal. My life has been forever changed. At the beginning of 2013 is when I made a vow to never go back to my old ways. From my experience, this is what I know. My medical problems disappeared. My irritable bowel syndrome? Gone. My hormonal problems? Gone. My Acne? POOF! Gone. My fatigue? Gone. I felt amazing. My health was my priority but my weight loss was a bonus. Weight fell off almost effortlessly and I never felt hungry. I learned to listen to my body's hunger signals. Was I really hungry? Or was I just bored? My life was back on track. 
     So this brings me to today. 30 pounds lighter and a hell of a lot happier. Of course, I'm not where I want to be yet, but I work at it everyday. I'm always trying new things. Cleanses, fasting, new recipes, new fad meal plans. Always focusing on being better, but always eating like a cave man. Thank you, Primal!




      What I've learned about healthy lifestyles:
1) GET OFF WHEAT!!! This is so stinkin important I cannot begin to stress this. One piece of bread spikes your blood sugar more than a tablespoon of table sugar. Spike in blood sugar= weight gain (in simple terms). Stop eating wheat. Now. 
2) Drink half your body weight in ounces. Water Water Water! So important in clearing out toxins and aiding in hunger satisfaction. 
3) Don't overdue yourself with chronic cardio and exercise. 
4) Don't beat yourself up over a missed workout
5) Eat a good meal and take a walk. Walk as often as you can. 
6) Play. Go play ultimate Frisbee or go for a run with your dog. Have FUN exercising! 
7) Eat your favorite meal once a week. This stops you from binging in the middle of the week. 
8) Get off of starches (ie, potatoes, rice, corn) These have the same effects as wheat.
9) Lose the sugar
10) Get rid of pop, even diet.
11) If you can leave it on the shelf for a week without it getting moldy or gross, DON'T EAT IT! Remember, the longer it's shelf life, the shorter yours will be.
12) Have fun with food. Try new things. 
13) RELAX! Find time in your busy schedule to relax and wind down. Increased cortisol levels leads to weight gain over time. 
     All in all, I will always be trying to improve myself. Always trying to be better. But weight loss is a life long commitment. Success doesn't come easy. It's full of ups and downs. I still have self esteem issues and I will probably never be 100% comfortable with myself but I'm working at it every day. My goal is to inspire people to be the best that they can be. I've made so many changes this year. Looking back a year ago, I don't even recognize myself. This has not only been a physical change for me, it's been a mental change. I'm learning how to love myself. I still struggle with my old food addiction and I sure as hell miss doughnuts, but I always have to remember that it's just NOT worth it. Happy and Healthy is my lifestyle now (: