Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wonderful Support

I wrote the following post while laying in bed at 11pm:

This is going to be a short post but I felt compelled to write a little something about having a great support system that understands what you're doing and why.

I appreciate my husband and everything he does for our little family of 3 (myself, him, and doggy). But more than that he respects the choice I have made to be a healthier person and the road I'm taking to get there. He isn't 100% Primal and I don't think he ever will be, but he understands why I made this decision. He makes this choice easy for me. He respects it enough to not bring grain or sugar into the house. He listens to my constant rambling about the most recent information I've found or the latest article I read. He is fully aware of the awesome benefits that can be passed down to our children too. I may have annoyed him with all facts and studies, but I think that's what got him on board.

I can imagine being Primal with a house full of skeptics can be hard. It's important to surround yourself with people that will respect the decisions you make when it comes to your health (so long as they are educated decisions). It's so much easier to be understood than questioned and doubted.

I must run off to bed now. Getting sleep is important too :)
Remember, keep things positive and keep stress down.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homemade Butter

I made butter for the first time today. After reading a few different websites and watching a youtube video or two I figured I'd give it a go.

What you'll need:
stand mixer with whisk attachment (dough hook optional)
heavy whipping cream

How to do it:
Attach the whisk and pour some cream into the stand mixer. Add however ever much you want. I started with half a pint. The more cream you use the more butter you'll get. Now turn it on. I have a KitchenAid mixer and put it on speed 4 (about medium).

Soon the cream will start the thicken and look a little something like this.

Keep it going!

Now it's starting to look more like butter.

Once it starts to look like this...

You might want to do a little something like this...
Let it run for just a bit longer to separate the butter and buttermilk. 

Ta da! Now you have butter (and buttermilk)!
Strain the butter from the buttermilk. If you're planning on using the butter right away you're done. However, if you aren't, you need to rinse it so that it doesn't go rancid. There are two ways to do this. I tried both and preferred using my hands. 

Grab the butter and kneed it under the faucet with cold water running. It has to be COLD water so the butter doesn't melt. Kneed the butter with your hands under the cold water until the water rinses clear.

Instead of using your hands you can kneed the butter in your mixer with the dough hook while adding ice cold water. The water must be cold to prevent the butter from melting. Kneed butter until water washes away clear.

Now you have homemade butter and buttermilk!

After taking these pictures I used the rest of my cream to make more butter. One pint of heavy whipping cream gave me enough butter to fill up that tupperware container. It's yummy too!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Primal?

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food." -Hippocrates
There are lots of reasons I decided to make Primal a part of my life. The most significant is my health, my husband's and our future children's. 

I took baby steps that lead me to become Primal. A month or so ago I decided I was going to take control of what my family was eating. We started eating whole foods again. Then I signed up to receive weekly shipments of organic produce from Full Circle (amazing company!!). That was the best thing I could have done. Having the produce here in the house has given me the motivation to actually try and finish it before the next order shows up. I've even had to up our order size because we were going through it so quickly. Anyway, back to the point. We were eating a whole foods diet again. Whole grains, organic produce, meat, etc. Then my sister in-law posted a link to Mark's Daily Apple on facebook, something I saw there made me stop and think. Mark Sisson writes: "Our modern Western diet bears little resemblance to the eating habits of early humans throughout 100,000+ years of evolutionary history. Instead, since the agricultural revolution some mere 10,000 years ago, we’ve adopted a nutritional regime that our physiology wasn't and still isn’t adequately adapted to. When the basics of our diet return to the patterns of our pre-agricultural ancestors, we’re operating with, instead of against, our natural physiology. More simply: eat as our ancestors ate, and we'll be healthier for it." (I listed this same quote in another post in case you're wondering why it sounds familiar.) My sister in-law had been posting things about Primal for awhile and I hadn't been super interested. I could tell it was working for her, but until I took the time to read into what she was really doing it didn't occur to me how life changing this could be. It's only been a week and I've already lost 4 pounds and I feel so much better!

Tommy (my husband) has a history of diabetes in his family. And to be honest the way Tommy likes to eat made me fear he was headed down that path later in life. Mind you, Tommy hasn't fully dedicated himself to a Primal lifestyle and frankly I don't think he will. However, he eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner the way I prepare it and our house is completely Primal friendly. Tommy has to make the conscious decision to seek out something sugary and/or made from grain. Even if it's not a 100% commitment I know this difference in diet will greatly impact his health. In one week he has already lost 2 pounds!

People have told me that eating this way is too expensive. Think about this, Dr. Terry Wahls said, " are going to pay the price. You will pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality or you will pay the price for doctors visits, prescription drugs, surgeries, missed time from work, early retirement, and nursing home care. The choice is yours." Watch her presentation here. It's an 18 minute video that could change the way you view food entirely. I strongly recommend everyone watch this! The benefits of a healthy life completely outweigh the extra costs. 

I made the choice to be healthier and happier for myself and my loved ones. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Fertility

My wonderful sister in-law is a fabulous information gatherer. Bonus for me because what would take me 20 minutes to find she could pull up in about 5! Today she provided these awesome articles from Mark's Daily Apple about fertility. I just had to share.

"For years, the average male sperm count had been decreasing, especially in Western industrialized nations, by about 1% to 2% per year."

"So, we all like to throw around the 55/45 fructose/glucose number as proof that HFCS isn't that much worse than plain white sugar, but a study from late last year examining various HFCS-sweetened commercial products arrived at a different number. The mean fructose content for all the HFCS tested was 59%, with several popular products from major brands coming in at 65% fructose!"

"Trans fats are paramount in fertility impairment. One study showed that a 2% increase in trans fat intake resulted in a 75% increase in fertility risk. Full fat dairy showed a positive effect, but go for clean organic sources."

Roasted Yams

This is as easy as a recipe can possibly get!

Yams, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch slices
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Toss yam slices in a generous amount of olive oil. Arrange slices on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Play around with this recipe. It's not perfect. Yet :)

1 ¼ cup almond flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
few shakes of salt
5 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes until set and slightly toasty. These will firm up as they cool.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Collard Greens

Now I've never cooked collard greens before or even tried them. I'm really not sure how the tradition southern kind taste, but these were mighty good!

1 bunch collard greens
half an onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (add more if you love it like I do)
1/2 cup chicken stock
olive oil
pinch salt & pepper

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a large pot and add garlic. Heat over medium. Once olive oil is infused with garlic add the diced onion. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium. Add washed collard green to pot, let them sit in the pot loosely, you don't need press them to the bottom. Poor chicken stock over the top of the greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook greens over medium for 45 minutes.

Play with the recipe and add whatever you think sounds good.

Potato Pancakes

Potatoes are starchy tubers. They are allowed on Primal in moderation.
2 medium potatoes, peeled (I used Australian fingerlings and didn't peel them)
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Finely grate potatoes; drain any liquid. A food process makes this job really easy! Place potatoes in a bowl. Add egg, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder; mix well. In a large skillet, heat some butter over medium to medium/low heat. Squeeze 1/4 cup batter between hands and press into a pancake shape. Drop into pan and press lightly to flatten. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting Started

Here I sit with a primal friendly glass of red wine in hand contemplating. Every little piece of information I have read thus far about this way of life has completely resonated with me. How could it not? I'm changed for the better. I always thought I knew what eating healthy was; whole grains, meat, veggies, low fat dairy, limiting calorie intake, avoiding saturated fat, etc. I was so wrong.

It's honestly so difficult to explain in one post. To get the full down low on the Primal "diet" (I hate that word since this is more a lifestyle) you should check out However, I will touch base on grains. Agriculture was not developed until about 10,000 years ago. Humans and our ancestors have been around for much longer. Our bodies have not adapted to eating grain. Grain 'has an array of chemical defenses, including various lectins, gluten, and phytic acid, that disrupts your digestion, cause inflammation, and prevent you from absorbing vital nutrients and minerals.' - How Agriculture Ruined Your Health by Mark Sisson. In addition to it messing with our insides it has no nutritional value at all except fiber. But get this, we don't need much fiber! And what we do need we can get from vegetables. So, I ask you why waste calories on something that has no nutritional value? Why? There's no reason.

I stress that you read these articles:
          How Agriculture Ruined Your Health (and What You Can Do About It).
          Why Eating Animals Makes Everything Easier

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coffee Creamer

I was going over somethings with my dear husband that he and I are going to be cutting out of our diets. Tommy just couldn't give up his morning cup of coffee with flavored creamer. Have you ever read the ingredients list in that stuff?? The closest thing to actual milk in it is a "milk derivative."


So, I started googling. Now, primal allows for coffee and dairy in moderation. I figured if he can't give up the flavored creamer I'd figure something else out. Something that's not full of a bunch of stuff I've never heard of. 

Ta da! Let me just tell you this creamer is pretty freaking yummy and you can add all sorts of stuff to make different flavors. Next time I'll probably do cinnamon or peppermint.

Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp maple syrup

1 vanilla bean

Add milk, heavy cream, and maple syrup to a cool sauce pan. Slice vanilla bean with a knife down one side and scrape the seeds. Whisk in seeds and bean pod to the milk mixture. Heat on medium low, stirring frequently, until steaming. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in a glass container in refrigerator.