Oct 092013
 

Whew! September was a horribly busy and chaotic month for me! I was glad for once to flip the calendar to October – though it’s going to be a busy and quick one too! (In fact so busy I couldn’t get this post finished the day I planned or the meal planning – better late than never right 😉 )

I loved having my meal planning done throughout the month of September!

It really was a great stress reliever not to have to do it each week and having a plan for each day! I did run into several snags though – one of them being that I planned a lot of ground beef meals for the month – and ground beef didn’t go on sale at all 🙁  I ended up changing several meals to chicken meals as I was able to pick up quite a bit of it on sale.

With a small grocery budget and a special diet planning is essential – even if you can’t follow the plans you laid out perfectly. I did spend a lot of my shopping trips stocking up and Manager Specials meats and freezing them, so I had a good amount of other meats to substitute for my ground beef meals – and thankfully a local store finally put ground beef on sale this week so I stocked up on what I could for this month.

I decided I’d start my meal planning for the month from what I already have on hand.

Since I’ve had a lot of questions about how to meal plan – I’ll walk you through my process – it’ll help us both as I still hate to meal plan 🙂

Breakfasts:

Breakfasts in our household are pretty easy and basic: Eggs. And on the weekends we usually through some potatoes (for Chris) and some sweet potatoes (for me) in the mix. As an occasional treat we make pancakes. I’ll share my recipe soon 🙂

Lunches:

I stopped buying lunch meat for Chris’ lunch last month – wow was this a time and money saver! Often I made a special trip to Aldi just for lunch meat – and I always picked up other stuff too. You know the trips where you don’t get a buggy but see a bunch of good deals where you load your arms down to the breaking point. 😉 I found that buying Chicken Legs on Manager Special and cooking a whole batch was cheaper than the lunch meat – as well as healthier. Soups are too – so I tried to make these on weekends so he’d have these to take for lunches. Worked pretty well!

So this is my plan for lunches for both of us – though I need to actually start eating a lunch… and not just grabbing a snack of fruit throughout the day.

Dinners:

Here’s the crux of any meal planning – the “BIG” Meal.

Since I stocked up a lot in September on meats I’m going to make my meal plan from these. My hope is then to only buy meat when it’s extremely on sale for November – and do it again. This is one way to save money on groceries. 

First things 1st, I figured out exactly what I have on hand – at least in the Meat area – (I’ve done the inventory the whole house thing several times and I don’t recommend it – I never keep up with it and I’m exhausted at the end of the process.)

Here’s my List:

Beef:

  • 11 Meals of Steaks (I got a great deal on these – $3.66 per meal – and it’s a very quick go to meal for us)
  • Ground Beef 5 – 2.5lb packages
  • Beef Ribs – 1 lg package
  • Liver (doubt I’ll use this)

Chicken:

  • Chicken Legs 2 ~4lb packages
  • Chicken Thighs 1 Meal worth
  • Chicken Breasts (Boneless/Skinless) 3 ~2-3 lb packages
  • Chicken Leg Quarters 1 – 4.5 lb package (4 Quarters – these are great for a quick meal or soups, and often marked down)
  • Chicken Wings – 1 meal worth

Fish:

  • White Fish Nuggets (got these marked down – we’ll see how they are!)

Turkey:

  • Turkey Thighs – 2 packages

Pork:

  • Pork Steaks – 3lb package with 5 steaks (I don’t eat pork as a personal choice, but Chris does, so got these for him)

With all of this I have enough to make at least 33 Meals with leftovers or more. 🙂

I decided this month instead of planning out what to have each day, that I’d like to have several options to choose from. That way I can cross off what we eat and vary it up based on factors I can’t plan for (last-minute craziness, anyone?) From there I figured out what meals I could make from what I had on hand.

Here are my meals for the rest of the Month:

(Note 16 days for us as we’ll be traveling one week. and it’s already the 9th – I’ll be posting about Paleo Traveling soon 😉 :

Beef:

  • Steaks, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes & Veggie – 3x (1 per week)
  • Sloppy Joes, sautéed Green Beans, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes – 2x
  • Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole (see recipe below) – 4x (make a double batch 2x and freeze remaining)
  • Barbecued Ribs – 1

Chicken:

  • Roasted Chicken Legs, Roasted Veggies – 2x (freeze half for lunches)
  • Oregano Chicken, Potatoes/Sweet Potato, Green Beans – 1
  • Easy Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Peas – 1x
  • Chicken Soup – 1

Fish:

  • White Fish & Gingered Carrots – 1

Here’s what it looks like in Evernote – I printed it on and put on my refrigerator too, and I’ll cross off what we have as I go – I’ll let you know how it works next month 🙂

Evernote Meal Plan Paleo October

 

 

Paleo Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole Recipe:

This is a great quick and easy meal – that’s jam-packed with healthy veggies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package frozen 3 Pepper & Onion Blend (I get this at Kroger – but I’ve seen other brands)
  • Diced tomatoes (2 small cans or 1 large – I’m using Tomatoes I froze from the summer)
  • ~1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ~1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ~1/2 tsp Oregano
  • ~1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper to Taste
  • Optional: Other frozen or fresh veggies (I often use frozen loose leaf spinach to add bulk/nutrients to beef recipes, whatever you have on hand works great here!)
  • Optional: Shredded Cheese (if you can handle dairy – this is great! If you can’t, it’s still yummy without it (Praise God!))

Seasoning Note: I don’t measure – but do the sprinkle method, so these are approximate 🙂

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Either pre-brown the ground beef or break up in casserole dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. (I sometimes skip this step and throw it all in together, but it’s a bit greasier this way depending on your ground beef). Drain grease.
  3. Mix in frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and spices.
  4. Bake for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Taste for seasoning preference.
  6. Add Cheese if desired and melt on top.

This recipe freezes great and making a double batch is super easy, so a great one to stock the freezer with! Also works great in a crockpot! Try experimenting with spices to your liking and different veggies – it’s a great way to vary it up a bit. 🙂

Be blessed & don’t stress this October!

Blog SignatureWhat’s on your Meal Plan for the month? Is there a recipe you’d like to see me make “Paleo” style – leave me a comment below and I’ll try if I can ;-).

 

 

 

Aug 162013
 

I had no idea how much my life was going to change 5 years ago when I begged God to “Show me something.”

Paleo Diet path

(Read the first part of Journey to Paleo here.)

If I had known the struggles and heartbreak that was to come I don’t think I would have been so eager to hurry up and move on with my life.  But I’m glad to be able to look back on the journey and see God’s hands all over it as He led my family and showed me a whole lot of ‘something’.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-12

Fat Flush

It began with some radical obedience to a 2 week meal plan that my chiropractor (Doc) put Chris and I on to help us lose weight, get healthy and TTC (try to conceive). I call this radical obedience because there were foods on there I’d never heard of – and it required us to eat and drink foods we did not like (Grapefruits and Coffee for me – YUCK!) We knew we had to try something, so we decided to try it.

In the course of trying to find a recipe for some meals on the Meal Plan, I found the book The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman. The plan Doc put us on was a modified version of her plan (pretty much the same foods but different supplements).

It was a lot of work those first 2 weeks! Every meal I was making something I’d never made before. And grocery shopping that first time – whew! It was a major hurdle for us to overcome as we tried to navigate new stores and find foods we’d never heard of (jicama anyone?) I was exhausted – but oddly I began to have more energy than ever before. And I lost about 13 pounds!

At the end of the 2 weeks we were told to try to stick with it as much as possible and to keep a food and symptom diary. Doing this I started to notice some patterns. Every time I ate bread-based products I hurt the next day, and I was hungrier. Lots hungrier and a lot more tempted to eat stuff I shouldn’t.

Reading Fat Flush I discovered something that explained this phenomenon:

Food Sensitivities

“The same immune response [IgG antibody] that pumps excess fluid into your tissues also triggers your body’s distress mechanisms, centered around various natural chemicals and hormones. First, endorphins hit your system. These natural opiates give you a pleasant feeling of relief–but only for a few minutes to several hours. As your supply of endorphins dwindles, you are uncomfortable and seek to recreate the pleasant feelings with more reactive foods. Cravings strike!”

pg. 22, The Fat Flush Plan, by Ann Louise Gittleman, copyright 2002

I was addicted to breads, sugar and chocolate big time! I craved them constantly! One was never enough and I always felt so guilty for my lack of self-control. I had no idea that I was experiencing a chemical reaction in my body that was causing these feelings of stress, anxiety and addiction. I just thought I was a bad person with no ability to control myself.

This was a big eye-opener for me. It really hit home to me one Friday on our 3rd week. Chris and I had a lunch party at work that we both had to attend. Pizza and cake were the only foods available, as usual, so we decided to treat ourselves. I ate 2 large pieces of this very thick and heavy pizza, a piece of cake and left the party. As soon as I got home I was starving! I hadn’t been this hungry in 2 weeks and I wanted to eat everything in sight!

That night we decided to go to Bob Evans for dinner. I ate a salad, a large meal, and bowl of soup and of course some of their great banana bread. I ate enough that night for 2 people! My stomach was so full it hurt! But as we drove away from the restaurant that night I told Chris I was starving and really wanted to stop for ice cream. I knew I was full and didn’t need more food – but I was HUNGRY!

I knew then without a doubt that I had a sensitivity issue to wheat (breads, pastas, baked goods, etc).

I eliminated these foods from my diet as much as possible and continued to stay on the Fat Flush Plan. I continued losing a little bit of weight, feeling better, and some other “weird” things began happening too…

A few weeks later I learned I was pregnant.

I had suspected it for while at this point, but with all the fears and “thinking” I was before I was afraid to take a test. When I finally got up the courage to test and told Chris, we were both elated! A bit fearful, but elated and we began making plans right away. It had been 4 long years of TTC!

When we told Doc he was ecstatic as well, but sternly warned me NOT to add anything back to my diet! We had been doing very well on the Fat Flush Plan and while we modified to fit our lifestyle that included eating out a lot – we stuck to it as much as possible. I would eat meat and salads, chicken wings, and such. I thought I was doing great and I felt great.

I was having some spotting issues, but our Nurse Practitioner encouraged us it was “normal” and not to worry. So we tried not to after hearing the healthy heartbeat and seeing a beautiful “kidney bean” baby. 2 weeks from the day we found out we were expecting our little miracle we went to pick up a crib. We stopped at Olive Garden for lunch for Soup and Salad. I ate mostly salad, and picked the noodles out of my soup so I didn’t eat them and stuck to the plan.

That night, as Chris assembled our baby’s crib, I miscarried.

We were heartbroken to say the least. And I felt so guilty. I hadn’t followed strictly to Doc’s warning. I had 1 chocolate truffle 3 days beforehand, and I ate that soup and some other stuff that might have had some wheat in it. I knew it was the foods fault! I was determined after this to stay away from wheat (and chocolate), and I decided to stick pretty close to the Fat Flush Plan.

(Please note, this is where I was then, I’ve since learned there was a lot more to the story, though food sensitivities/intolerances definitely played a role. If you’ve had a miscarriage or infertility problems, please research progesterone.)

An Allergy???

A few days after Thanksgiving I was eating a piece of pumpkin pie by scraping the pumpkin carefully off the crust. Pumpkin was an approved part of the plan, and Doc had said this was fine to do. I accidentally got just a few crumbs into my mouth while I was eating it. A few minutes later my tongue felt a bit fuzzy and my throat started to hurt a little bit.

I immediately stopped eating and called Doc to ask about what happened. He was rather surprised by this reaction, but told me to drink some water and that I should be fine. I was “normal” again in about 20 minutes, but I had a lot of questions – and I now didn’t want anything to do with anything that even remotely had anything to do with wheat.

At my next appointment Doc decided we should do a blood allergy test to rule out a wheat allergy or any other possible allergens. I’m pretty sure he did an IgE test (I’m trying to find my records to confirm this.) This test came back negative for a wheat allergy, and all others that it tested for – but I definitely could not eat anything with wheat anymore without hurting and getting sick in some way.

I continued to avoid it until March when I went in for a checkup with my PCP. He told me that if I was having trouble with wheat “I needed to figure out what gluten was, and get it OUT of my diet.” He said he had several patients who tested negative for a wheat allergy and Celiac disease but who were much better without gluten in their diet.

I left the doctors office that day to start the next leg of my Journey to Paleo: Gluten Free.

God was definitely about to ‘Show me something.’

 

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Stay tuned next week as I continue to share my Journey to Paleo. Bare with me as it’s a long story to tell.If you’d like to receive updates of when this and other posts are available please sign up for emails here, Facebook here, or Twitter here.

Find Part 3 here.

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Aug 092013
 

Thanks everyone who voted in last week’s Fab Friday poll! Here’s the winner of the poll. If you didn’t get to see the answer to our game 2 Truths and a Lie, click here.

My Journey to Paleo

It really all started with these words…

Paleo Diet path

Show me something.

Cried from the depths of my soul to God, as I longed to figure out what to do in my life. You see my Journey to Paleo is deeply intertwined with my Infertility Story.  And as I sat in anguish, yet again realizing I wasn’t pregnant as I thought I might have been, I didn’t know what to do or what to think. I knew I wasn’t healthy. I knew it had to do with being overweight and food, but I had no idea how to fix it.

Some History

I’ve been overweight my entire life. I never quite understood why, but I always struggled in this area. At 6 I was diagnosed with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and with a modified low sugar diet it went away a couple of years later. The only thing I remember being modified was that I had to eat yogurt ice cream instead of regular, and I couldn’t eat much candy.  I also had a lot of tummy issues. These were routinely dismissed as nothing and “normal”. I was also diagnosed with ADHD and depression at age 11.

Flash forward to my senior year of college, where I became very hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). It was not fun standing in front of a vending machine between classes trying to find something so I didn’t pass out. I made it through student teaching only with the aid of glucose tablets.

Growing up I always felt so much older than my peers.  I didn’t have their energy or stamina. I couldn’t run or play as hard. Even as a preschooler I remember having to sit on the sidelines in between races. But I always tried. I tried to eat healthy, I tried to exercise as much as I could. I played every sport for girls my school offered but 2, and I pushed myself as hard as I could. All to no avail.

South Beach Diet

In 2003 the South Beach Diet was very popular. A few of the teachers at my first teaching job were on it.  I desperately needed to lose weight, as my senior year of college I gained 50 pounds! So I got the book, and read it quickly one weekend. It explained a lot of what was happening to me.

The blood sugar rushes, the insulin spikes, and then my blood-sugar dropping out. These were regular occurrences of my everyday life! The lack of energy, the constant hunger, everything.  So Chris and I decided to try it.

The first 2 weeks were the strictest. All carbs were eliminated, even carrots and tomatoes. But we were seeing results! In a month I lost close to 30 pounds – but there were so many more benefits than the weight loss. I felt good for the first time.  In fact I felt better than I ever remembered feeling in my whole life. And this in the midst of the most challenging and difficult season of my life to that point (I won’t go into details but I was a 1st year teacher teaching 6th/7th Grade Emotionally Disturbed kids in an inner-city school, newly married, and my mother was very ill, and we didn’t think she was going to make it!).

My progress with the diet came to a screeching halt when I started adding back in some of the Stage 2 “healthy” foods – whole grains.

Suddenly I was hungrier, my cravings returned, and staying on the diet was much harder. I also stopped losing weight, and just felt blah all the time again. Just about this time, I left my job (before I became emotionally disturbed!), and since Chris was still in school we had no money.  Carbs are cheaper, or so we thought, so we went back to our standard American diet (S.A.D).

I gained some, but not all of the weight back, and I went back to my “normal” state of being. I did, however, realize that I definitely had an issue with breads. While we did switch over to healthier whole wheat breads and pastas, I did start slowly limiting how often we ate them over time.

In 2004 we started trying to conceive.

The Great Physicians Rx and the Maker’s Diet

In 2006 I was in a car accident that left my back in pretty bad shape, and I began seeing a chiropractor. During this time I went back to my high weight point that I was at before I started South Beach. I was miserable, hurting, depressed, and longing to be pregnant.

My chiropractor also did nutrition counseling, and I decided to give it a try. I also began reading and searching for answers. They first 2 things that I came across were the Great Physicians Rx and The Maker’s Diet. I read both, and gained a better understanding of how nutrition is vital to our health an well-being. It was a lot to take in and digest (pun intended ;-)).

I decided to try the Maker’s Diet, which included a ‘no-carb’ 2 week detox similar to South Beach. Again I had amazing results and felt GREAT! Moving on to phase 2, which started to add in some whole grains, I started to struggle. After a trip to Disney, which I attempted to stay on the diet as closely as possible, it all began to fall apart.  The cravings were back. I stopped losing weight. I didn’t feel good, and I was depressed again. Add to that, I thought I might be pregnant, but wasn’t. After that I lost my desire to wholeheartedly continue.

I tried again several times to “get back on the horse”. My chiropractor put me on supplements to try help, and instructed me to not eat proteins and carbs together.  This helped some, but I was getting nowhere fast. One day my chiropractor told me that I had the worse case of sugar sensitivity (he used a bigger word, but this is what it meant), that he had ever seen. I was addicted to sugars.

So this is where I found myself in August of 2008. I’d been trying to eat healthy, taking supplements, exercising as much as I could with my back (I was still in constant pain, though I was “physically healed” according to my doctor).  I was even put on metformin to help stabilize my sugar levels (didn’t work) and help me to get pregnant. And again I thought I was.

I needed help. I needed wisdom. I needed God to show me something

And He has!

 

Stay tuned next week as I continue to share my Journey to Paleo. Bare with me as it’s a long story to tell.

See part 2 here. Part 3 here.

 

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May 212013
 

It’s been a Monday, a Meal Planning Monday.

Monday Meal Plan

BLAH! I hate Meal Planning Monday! Can you relate?

Always trying to find Cheap, Easy to fix, Yummy, Healthy, AND pretty much Paleo meals is exhausting — but doable.

‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I can do …’

This needs to be my mantra on Meal Planning Mondays.  (Well, everyday, but especially on Meal Planning Mondays!)

I did it.  I may not be ecstatic about my plan, but I did it.  Here it is:

Breakfasts: Eggs, Paleo Pancakes, French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries

Lunches: Chris: Ham & Fruit, or Leftovers      Me: Chicken on Salad, Fruit, or Leftovers

Dinners:

    • Oregano Chicken, french fries (not really Paleo)
    • Crockpot Turkey Thighs & Veggies
    • Veggie Marzetti
    • Chicken Legs, Broccoli, & Squash
    • Veggie Pizza
    • Ginger Mahi Mahi, and a vegetable
    • Out

Snacks:

  • Easy Grain Free Muffins (these are really yummy, tried tonight, but took more than 5 minutes to make for this Mommy, but not too much!)
  • Ice Cream – haven’t decided on flavor yet  🙂

So that’s my plan for the week.  I’m exhausted. I’m looking for some wisdom and some help to make this process easier.  If you’ve got any tips, tricks, or suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know!!!

There’s got to be a great app for this?! Right.

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