So, a few weeks ago....ok, OK. It was more than a month ago (man, time flies) I encouraged all of you to ask questions about our healthy living and then did a giveaway of some of my favorite cookbooks. I answered the winner's questions already. But more questions were asked and I've been meaning to answer them too. Today is the day.
1) What is your all time favorite paleo dish and favorite cookbook of the four?
Great question and SO hard to answer. I think my favorite thing to eat is avocado, sliced into chunks, over easy eggs, and bacon - all in a bowl together! YUM. But, my guess is, that you were probably looking for a recipe type dish. I haven't made everything in all the books, but I'll tell you two that I have made frequently. Everyday Paleo's Spice Rub Slow-Cooked Chicken, which makes GREAT leftovers and I use the carcass to make broth every time. We eat this at least twice a month. I don't always use the rub in the cookbook now. At the end of the Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals there are some fantastic rub recipes! I like to mix it up now. A second frequent flyer at our house are the basic biscuits out of Paleo Comfort Foods. These are a huge hit and it is lovely to have something to sop of the bottom of the bowl of chili or soup.
As for which of the four books is my favorite (if you're unfamiliar with the books, click here), I like them all equally and for different reasons! lol Honestly, I've had Everyday Paleo the longest and have several recipes that I go back to time and time again. There are a lot of easy week night meals in there, plus information on the rest of paleo living - because living is more than what we eat! So that book is a great 'getting started' cookbook. Make It Paleo and Paleo Comfort Foods are filled with incredible pictures and an assortment of recipes, some more involved than others. I have made things out of both, and have liked everything I've made thus far. And the Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals has some really practical ideas to switch it up if you're getting bored with the same ol' salad for lunch. Sometimes I get stuck and can't think of how to change what's boring me. A quick look in there and I'm like, "Oh, duh! Now there's a protein I hadn't thought about using!" I really do enjoy them all!
2) Did you find it difficult to start the Paleo lifestyle?
Honestly, no. I had been so tired and so sedentary with an exhausting pregnancy followed by a nursing babe, that I felt incredibly unhappy with how un-fun I was with my two older kids. After just a couple weeks of eating cleaner I had so much more energy that I vowed I'd never go back - there was no reason to, even if I didn't lose a pound. And now that I've found a community of women with similar goals for healthier families and increased energy...life is definitely good :-)
3) You have so many different roles, parent-wife-teacher etc. How do you manage to stay on top of Paleo? Do you have meals made ahead of time, do you find yourself straying when you get swamped with life?
Planning ahead is definitely a plus. On the occasion that I find myself in a pinch without something prepped, it can be frustrating, because ordering out for pizza or running through the drive through just isn't an option. We honestly didn't do that often before going primal, but now I just start to feel sick thinking about it. But you know what can happen? A bag of salad, some leftover meat, and frozen veggies cooked in the microwave. Dinner. Or eggs (and no, I don't care that we had them for breakfast too) with sauteed spinach and apple slices dipped in almond butter. Yup, dinner - quick and easy. And the kids totally think they're getting away with something having almond butter for dinner!
When I'm swamped with life, though, I usually figure it's time for some reorganization. Part of living primally is reducing stress, sleeping well, and using my brain. So, if life is causing me to lose sleep or be miserable on a regular basis, well then - life needs to change. That's easier said than done sometimes, but seriously something to take a look at. What can be simplified? Also, sometimes stress or occasional moodiness is not necessarily a bad thing and I actually appreciate those times as part of a whole, healthy life.
4) I miss 'comfort food!'. Feel like the only thing in the world I want is a huge helping of mashed potatoes ((not sweet potatoes)) dripping with butter and milk and cheese! :P My question is what's your favorite Paleo comfort food (please don say mashed cauliflower :P uck!) that you make and what is your fave recipe in the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook?
The only time I ever miss non-paleo foods are when they were ingrained in our traditions at certain times of the year. For example, I used to have seconds (sometimes thirds) of my Grandmother's ham gravy with stuffing and mashed potatoes every year at Christmas. This year, a day or two after Thanksgiving I mixed together paleo gravy, sweet potato casserole (from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook), and cauliflower stuffing (from Mark's Daily Apple). It hit the spot the same way! yay!
Day-to-day, though, my "comfort foods" are the things that make me happy to eat - eggs (usually mixed with sauteed cabbage, spinach, or Brussels sprouts), steak (done rare, sometimes with grass fed butter!), soup or stew.
And, my favorite recipe out of Paleo Comfort Foods is chicken breasts with mushroom sauce. That sauce was SO tasty and I didn't even use Sherry, like it called for, just a whole cup of chicken stock.
5) What made you decide on the Paleo lifestyle? Did you do a lot of research, or know people who've done it? I've never heard of it before you, and am curious how it's changed your life.
This post will answer you. Just scroll past the book winners and I give a little background. Thanks!
6) Has your grocery bill gone up?
I don't know. Really. I will say that when I first started I was going to be the only one eating primally, so yes it did. It definitely costs more to cook one way for me and another way for everyone else. I quickly realized that was too much and too complicated and switched all of our meals to primal ones. Over the next year and a half I slowly weaned the kids off bread, crap snacks, etc. During that time we moved so grocery prices are all over the place and it's hard to compare.
I will say, though, that I don't eat as much as I did. Over time what my grocery budget goes to has changed too. Now I buy a lot of meat, eggs, and veggies and not as much snack food (as we traditionally think of snacks) for the kids. They can have nuts, fruit, or a chicken leg and it's all good! Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson have several posts about how to eat paleolithically on a budget (or you could just chew on that word for a while, for free!) And there are plenty of other bloggers in the www who have spoken out about it too.
The bottom line for me is that eating right is worth it. I'm not hurting my digestive track. I'm not increasing my chances for various illnesses. I am giving myself more of a chance to live longer and healthier. I am teaching my kids important lessons about health, all around body-mind-and-soul health. I have energy. I have less mood swings. I have a smaller waist (and thighs and arms and fingers!) and stronger muscles.
I am worth it.
So, hopefully these answers have helped some of you who still have questions. If you have more questions, general or specifics, please ask. I still have more questions to answer from the giveaway, but I need to get off the computer for a bit. So, another day...