Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Wednesday, February 5

Our Paleo Journey....

Zach and I have been Paleo since November 1.  We started by saying “we will try this out and see how we feel, maybe just a month”….but to be honest I didn’t think we would make it two weeks and I would have bet you my first born we wouldn’t be paleo through Thanksgiving.  Good thing I didn’t make that bet.  Here we are three months later going strong and loving it.  I am eating crow now for all those Paleo comments I made to Cory and Alicia for doing this.  I remember when we visited them this time last year they were paleo and I found myself saying “can you eat that”, “can you eat there”, “I bet it sucks to be paleo”….and now I have learned that no, in fact, it does not suck at all to be paleo.  It ROCKS being paleo. The way I feel far outweighs any desire for a DQ Blizzard or a plate of greasy fries.  We may not always be “by the book” paleo but we are trying our best right now to set a good example for the kids so they will be exposed to tons of healthy foods they have grown to love and hopefully when they get older they will make healthy food choices. 

I am writing this post because I have received requests to know what we eat, what are our staple meals, how to do paleo, what does paleo even mean, etc.  I want to give you a total brain dump so you are educated enough to know if it’s for you, I will be honest and forthcoming with the challenges. As you know there is so much info out there so read up and understand the Paleo basics.  I will post tried and true recipes regularly, but don’t worry if you come here just to see cute pics of my kids I won’t deny you that luxury and you can skip all the food blogs.  But I do hope that all those “diet skeptics” reading this will no longer turn their nose up to other people’s “diet”…..Diet is not a short lived starvation period or a means to emaciation as you drink your lunch consisting of 4 pieces of spinach, 1 grapefruit segment, and a teaspoon of flax seed juiced into oblivion.  The word diet actually means the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.  So we are all “on a diet”, good or bad, it’s a diet. So the next time I hear “oh you’re on a diet” accompanied by an eye roll and an almost overt request to pass the plate of cinnamon rolls just to ensure they are clear that a) they are judging me and concluded I must be a vain health nazi… and, b)they don’t want anything to do with a “diet”…..I may get feisty.

Understand that paleo IS NOT ATKINS, not anything similar.  We eat carbs, we eat fat, we eat sugar (just unrefined). We eat well and we eat often. In fact we eat 6-7 times a day depending if it’s a workout day. I am not hungry, I am not deprived.

Paleo is not for everyone and there is a LOT of planning involved.  It also is a team sport….if your spouse isn’t totally on board I can see it being a challenge but Zach was the one driving it and I quickly got just as excited.  Making awesome, healthy, delicious meals has become such a fun activity for us.
It is also expensive; we typically spend double our old weekly grocery budget because of more fresh produce, specialty flours and nut, etc.  However we have saved the difference by not eating out often anymore…that will drain the bank quickly. 

It is not a fad or a crash diet, it is just plain and simply good nutrition. We DID NOT embark on this journey to “just lose 10lbs” or “look good this swimsuit season”, we did this to change our lifestyle and find satisfying food that provided us with excellent core nutrition.  In fact, I didn’t want to lose weight, I wanted to maintain weight and consume high calorie meals so my breastfeeding wouldn’t be affected. We have learned a lot about how things like gluten, sugars, carbs, proteins,etc. control our metabolism and digestion and I feel like once I understood the basics it became much easier to make choices, and it made it even easier to set boundaries.  Once you read what a glazed donut triggers in your digestive system, it will make you think twice about hitting up the box in the break room.

I used to complain a lot about my stomach hurting after meals.  Not sure if it was the rich foods, the portion size, a slight intolerance to diary, or a combination but since we have changed our eating habits our stomachs rarely bother us and our poor TUMS bottle is getting lonely in the bedside table since we rarely pay it a visit. 

But the most rewarding aspect is hearing Austin say “mmmmmm, I love vegetables” and “can I have more chicken please”.  4 months ago we couldn’t bribe him to eat veggies and lean meats (and I don’t mean breaded fake chicken you get in the drive through fast food line), all he wanted were pop tarts, frozen waffles, and cheese.  This made my mommy heart break that I was leading him down a road of poor nutrition and somehow we were eating healthy but I wasn’t making him.  WHAT?? Bad mom! His nutrition is even more important and we finally decided that we were going to change his eating habits too.  This wasn’t easy….Austin is a creature of habit after all but fast forward 3 months and his dinners typically consist of 3 of the following: broccoli, carrots, green beans, Greek yogurt, grapes, chicken, lean ground turkey, eggs, pork, apples, oranges, almonds, bananas, edemame,  apple sauce, and get this….a veggie and protein packed taco soup is his favorite.  His “treats” for eating his dinner are normally fruit snacks, or raisins, or banana chips.  Surprisingly the fruit snacks we buy have less sugar than a serving of raisins.  We haven’t cut out all processed foods for him, he still eats goldfish and cheerios for snacks and a pop tart for breakfast at most 2x a week but that is just until the box runs out and then I am done with poptarts. He made it easy to nix grains at home because he never liked PBJ sandwiches, mac and cheese, chips,  etc like most toddlers.  He still eats grains 2 meals a day at school but we don’t have many at home since we are grain free.

So there is our Paleo background, we are not health freaks…we are LIFE FREAKS!  We want to feel good so we can keep up with those active kids of ours. We want our kids to be healthy.  My kids will eat pizza and coke at parties, cupcakes and candy on birthdays, and be normal kids but I want them to come home knowing that a healthy meal is not something we cry over, it’s the norm at our home and it’s “dee-wishish” as Austin says. With all the articles out there saying “don’t eat this it causes cancer” or “don’t buy this, it’s made from pig anus” (true story), I feel like my best bet is just stick to what natural stuff.  We have stepped outside our food comfort zone and I now love Brussels sprouts and Zach now loves sweet potatoes and avocados….these foods were previously on our “I don’t like that” lists. 

So I hope you enjoy the recipes to come, and like I said I will only post ones we have tried and love.  Nothing is worse than wasting time and money on a dud dinner.

Thanks for reading, wishing you the best year yet!

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