Don’t Let Fear Stop You

I wanted to try the Paleo diet for many months before I actually went “all in” and gave it a shot. Looking back I realize that it was my fear of failure, not my fear of giving up bread, that kept me from really trying for all those months. Now I understand that, that same fear is probably keeping many of my readers from giving Paleo eating a “real” shot. (And possibly a little bit of fear that it might actually make you feel amazing!) It was the same reason I waited so many years to quit smoking. It took me four or five tries, but I did quit (it has been several years, I have actually lost count)–and you can too!

Fear of failing has kept me from doing a lot of things in my life, but in my recent years I have been learning to let go of that fear. It has been amazing, despite the fact that I have actually failed at times. But you know what? I was ok. Actually, I am quickly learning that failure is something that we should embrace, not fear.

Take parenting and owning a business as two examples. I have not been doing either for much time, but I have already “failed” at both many, many times. These “failures” though, have actually proved to be very important lessons. Had I never experienced the failures, then the lessons would have been lost.

Some of the things I was successful at, because I faced my fear of failure:

I negotiated the price of my last used car.

I gave birth without any pain medicine.

I started a business. (I wouldn’t call this a “success just yet, but it isn’t a failure yet either.)

All three of these experiences were more empowering than I could ever fit into this computer screen. I most certainly would not be the person that I am today if I had not swallow my fear and took that first step towards facing my fear.

So if fear of failure is keeping you from really giving Paleo (or something else) a shot, please stand up and look your fear in the face!  And if you can’t do it 100% hard core right away that is ok. The point is to do something though.

If I would have counted, I probably failed at Paleo at least 50 times since I have started. That does not keep me from trying to eat my next meal Paleo though. If you are brave enough, give the Whole30 challenge a try with us (check out my post about it here). I promise it will change your life. Even if you go back to eating some unhealthy foods I am confident that you will have a much larger awareness of what you are eating, which will help you to make better choices.

 

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The W’s of the Upcoming Whole30 Challenge in Columbia, MO

 

 The Whole30 Challenge-Columbia, MO 

Hosted By:

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If you have heard about the upcoming Whole30 challenge that Back 2 Basics Cooking is hosting then you might have a few questions. So in case you missed the meetings or are out-of-town and will be participating only online (forfeiting all gift bags and prizes), here are some answers to the w’s of the upcoming challenge. If you haven’t already, check out my webpage about the challenge.

Who is this challenge for? Anyone who wishes to follow the Whole30 Program for 30 days with the rest of the group.

What will people be doing? Short version-Eliminating inflammatory food groups such as dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, and alcohol. So they will be eating meat, lots of vegetables and healthy fats and some nuts, seeds, and fruits. There will be support groups, as well as online support, and a party at the end where everyone who participated for the full 30 days and follows the rules will receive a gift bag. There will also be drawings for grand prizes. Best of all, thanks to all the wonderful sponsors, this event is FREE!

Where will the support groups and the party be located? Ingredient in Columbia, Missouri. It is located downtown so parking isn’t the greatest, but you can park in the parking garage to the east of the building. Dates and times to be announced.

When will this event take place? October 1,2014-October, 30, 2014-Support groups and party dates TBA

Why on earth would people want to give up their pizza? Well I don’t think very many people actually want to give up their pizza, but many find that when they do, they feel better. For some people, whatever medical condition or symptom they are suffering from is enough to motive them to ditch their favorite slice. For me it was migraines (horrible, horrible migraines) and my entire body was constantly itchy. A dairy allergy was to blame. We took our son off of grains when he tested low on iron despite the fact that he got plenty of iron in his diet. A month later (and with no other changes) his levels were normal again.

Still have questions? Of coarse you do. Read all 8 steps here. Please note on step four that we will be each others support network. I would suggest to find a “buddy” for the challenge. One person to help support you. Preferably someone in your household, but if not possible, then that’s ok too. If you can not find a buddy, send me an email and I can help with that.

So why can’t you just give up things slowly instead? Great Question! You can do that, but don’t you think if you were going to do that you would be doing it already? (If you are doing it already then good for you! Keep it up, you probably don’t need to do this challenge. If you want free and discounted stuff then feel free to join in, I mean it is only 30 days.) I completely understand and support that this is not the way for everyone. There is a reason I recommend that everyone at least consider the idea though.

I believe the Whole30 is a great way to kick start a healthier eating campaign, because it will allow people to do what has taken me 2 years to do, in just 30 days. To be honest, even taking it slowly, I still need to do a Whole30. I eat mostly a Paleo diet; I have eliminated grains and diary (except grass-fed butter), I don’t eat most legumes or processed foods. But I am far from perfect still. I have a horrible addiction to dark chocolate almond milk and larabars. I do not think larabars are a problem in moderation; however, four of them in one hour is a different story.

So I believe you could compare it to getting into a swimming pool.

You can:

A)Ease your way in slowly and draw out the torture of the cold water feeling.

Or

B)You can jump right in, experiencing an intense but much quicker burst of the cold water feeling.

Consider the Whole30 as option B.

Whether you choose option A or option B, I hope you choose one of them. Your body will thank you!

So for those of you who are still with me and wanting to participate in the upcoming Whole30 challenge, here are the rules:

1)Follow all of the Whole30 rules, which again can be read here. Yes, even the no weighing yourself rule!

2)Request to join the “Whole30 Challenge-Columbia, MO October 2014” group on Facebook. Once accepted, make a post in this group saying why you are doing the challenge. *

3)There will be one support group each week. You must attend at least one, but are welcome at all. Dates and times are to be announced soon.

4)You must sign up no later than midnight on September 30, 2014.

5) You must attend the party. If you know you can not at least 2 weeks ahead of time and you e-mail me, it is possible we could work around this. No last-minute cancellation will be allowed. The date and time will be announced soon.

6)You must take at least one picture of a meal you are eating and post it to the Back 2 Basics Cooking Facebook page during the challenge. Feel free to say how you are feeling, what you are missing, what you are loving, etc…*

*If you do not have a facebook account, please send me an e-mail.  ashley@back2basicscooking.net

What can you do between now and then to prepare?
1)Clean out your kitchen, car, desk, etc…. If there are members of your household who are not participating try to designate cabinets so you don’t have to look at all of their off limit foods each time you open the cabinet. The fridge/freezer area is a little harder, but you can designate an area “yours”, where “off-limit” foods are off-limits.

2)Adjust your mindset. If you say you can’t do this then you can’t. Check out my blog about this here. It is about losing weight, but you can apply it to diet changes also.

3)Start “practicing” eating Paleo meals. For example, Eat some pork chops, eggs and veggies for breakfast. Have a big salad with homemade dressing for lunch. Have some homemade soup for dinner.

4)Find one or two good take out dishes and 5-10 go to meals for the Challenge. Seriously. Knowing what you can eat before you are starving can mean the difference between success and failure. Those of you who are super organized could actually plan out the entire month of meals and snacks. Personally I am nowhere near that organized, but kiddos to those who are!

5)Getting a chiropractic adjustment is highly recommended. I got one the day I gave up soda and never got a caffeine headache! (My head was a little sore, but nothing like the normal headache that I usually get from stopping Dr. Pepper cold turkey.)

6)If you are on regular medication, see your doctor and let him know about you upcoming diet change. If you are on blood pressure medicine for example and your blood pressure gets too low you will get very dizzy and this can be dangerous. Check out this post about talking to your doctor about a Whole30.

7)Get others to join! I started this challenge to help people so the more the merrier!!

8)Consider subscribing to the Whole30 Daily, just remember to set your start day as October 1. It is $14.95 and not required; however I feel it will be invaluable for those of you making major diet adjustments. (Please note: I do not recieve any money if you do sign-up, I just really think it is a good resource.) Read more here.

Still have questions?

No problem, just post them below. Or feel free to shoot me an email: ashley@back2basicscooking.net

Chicken Fried Paleo Rice

Back 2 Basics-Safety in the Kitchen

Last week I was breaking in my new completely amazing roasting pan from Pampered Chef. I had been dying to try it out and couldn’t have been more excited! Little did I know this was not going to be my favorite moment in the kitchen….

First, I hit my arm on the handle after the pan had been roasting for a while so it was nice and hot, which burned a large patch of my skin on my forearm.  Then, a little later, I wanted to pull the pan out and instead of taking the time to find two good potholders, I just grabbed two dish towels that were on the counter. I did not realize that one of them was very slightly dampened with water, so when I grabbed the pan to pull it out, it of course burned the heck out of my fingers. Not wanting to lose the farmers market chicken I was roasting, I held on tight and continued burning my fingers. (In case it isn’t already clear, this was NOT the smart move.)

I had to stand with my burns under cold water for around 20 minutes, because it hurt so bad it was making me nauseous. [Before you try to write the nauseousness off as a low pain tolerance, please understand that I gave birth to my son (who had a 99 percentile head at birth) without any drugs or painkillers.] I then was able to use a dishcloth with cold water. I had to re-wet it every few minutes though. The pain subsided enough that I could tolerate it, and luckily when I woke up the next day it didn’t hurt at all. As it has been going through the healing process it has been sore and itchy a few times but nothing like the first day. I was lucky that it wasn’t worse.

This is what the burn on my forearm looks like several days later... Please be careful!

This is what the burn on my forearm looks like several days later… Please be careful!

Sometimes we all need a reminder to get back to the basics of safety. I hope this post will remind all of my readers that no matter how experienced you are in the kitchen, safety is very important and should not be brushed aside because you feel like you don’t have the time to worry about it.  Both of my accidents could have been prevented if I would have just slowed down a little. So please slow down, and have fun…

Happy Cooking!

What Will I Eat If I Don’t Use “Regular” Flour?-A Short Guide to Grain Free Flours

Grain free flours can be confusing, especially when you are used to “regular” all-purpose flours or even whole wheat flours. Have no fear though, because this post will go over the basics with you. After a little experimenting (but not too much because grain free flours are expensive!) you will know your way around grain free flours in no time…

The first thing to remember, is that grain free and gluten free are not the same thing. So anything made from oats, corn and rice, for example, are out. You can use beans flours or quinoa flour; however, if you eat Paleo like I do these are not good options. (Some in the Paleo/Primal communities believe buckwheat flour is ok to use, others avoid it.) Let’s look at what some good options are.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Flours

Almond Flour

Almond Flour/Meal- Thanks to more people giving up grains for various reasons, you can purchase almond flour from the health food section in many grocery stores. At around $10-$15 per 16 oz bag, it can get very pricey. You can purchase almond meal (which is slightly less ground than almond flour) from the bulk bins at some stores; however, those who have celiac or high sensitivity to gluten should not use this option due to cross-contamination.

It is much cheaper to make it yourself. Check out this video about how to make your own almond meal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

I would offer a word of caution about almond flour/meal though, I believe it should be used in moderation only. I personally do not feel my best if I eat too many nuts, so I looked into this and found this post about why to avoid almond flour. While I do think it is ok from time to time, I do think it is easy to go overboard. So as I said moderation (as with many things) is key.

 

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour-Coconuts are amazing! Not only  is there milk, water, and oil, but you can also use the meat to make flour. Again you can buy it from the health food section of many grocery stores already ground up or make it yourself. Check out this video for a step by step how to guide:

Coconut flour is a lot different than regular flour and it may take you a few times working with it to get the hang of it. This post  from Nourished Kitchen tells you what you need to know.  It does not substitute the same as grain based flours, so check out her post before attempting to cook with it.

It also has a different taste. Personally, it took my taste buds a few times eating it before I got used to it. Now I love it!

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch/Powder/Flour-Referred to as starch, powder and flour, this is my go-to thickener. It will replace cornstarch 1:1. Read more here.

Sunflower Seed Flour

Sunflower Seed Flour

Seed Flours-Seed Flours can be made the same way as the nut flours. Sunflowers are probably the most commonly used; however, pumpkin and flax seeds are another option. This can be a great option for some people with tree nut and peanut allergies (some people with peanut allergies can not tolerate sunflower seed either). Here is a great recipe for Gluten Free Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites that you can try out using sunflower seed flour.

Sweet Potato Starch

Sweet Potato Starch

Other Alternative Flours-There are tons of other alternative flours out there-plantain flour, hazelnut flour, sweet potato starch, tapioca start, other ground nuts and seeds, and plenty more. I personally never used any of these options though, so I do not feel comfortable advising the internet world on them. I just wanted to let you know there are other options if you are the adventurous type.

Peanut Free Flour– Those who follow a Paleo/Primal Diet like me probably already know that peanuts are not actually a nut, but rather a legume; therefore, they do not eat any peanuts. I know there people who read this blog that do not eat a Paleo diet and I also know there are plenty of people out there who simply CAN NOT have peanuts. If they do their airway will close up and they will stop breathing. If that happens, how will they come back to read my blog? (In all seriousness though, my boyfriend gets anaphylaxis to certain types of fish and it is nothing to mess around with. So if this is you, play it safe please!)

Some of these people also can not have seeds. While this recipe does contain buckwheat flour, it is the best option I am aware of for anyone with a peanut/seed allergy trying to eat as close to grain free as they can. (Please note that it also has coconut, which can be an allergen for some people with peanut allergies.)

A Few Final Thoughts

I find that using a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and/or arrowroot starch works the best for most things for me. Play around and try different combinations to see what tastes and cooks the best for you. Remember to use more liquid than normal if you are using coconut flour.

I believe making things such as pancakes, bread, cookies, and even donuts with Paleo/Primal approved ingredients is ok in moderation. Of course, this does not mean that I believe this to be “health” food. I am one of the people who can not have “cheat” days while eating Paleo, because I am so sensitive to many non-Paleo foods that I end up fairly sick. So to have the option to make some pancakes that won’t leave me feeling miserable for hours afterwards is awesome!

Paleo Waffles

Paleo Waffles

If you eat these types of things everyday, please do not think you are eating healthy. While it is still loads better than eating a Standard American Diet, it is a far cry from having half your plate filled with vegetables. Please save them for now and agains if you want to feel your best! And don’t forget you can use it for things like coating chicken also….

What is your favorite grain free flour to cook with? What do you like to use your grain free flours for?

A Typical Menu On the Whole30 Program

I have had several people ask me what a typical day on the Whole30 program looks like. I don’t actually think there is such a thing as a “typical” day. When I first started eating paleo it seemed like I was so limited in what I could eat. This was only because I was focusing on what I could not have instead of what I could have. Once you move past this mindset, you will see all of the amazing choices that you didn’t even know existed or if you did, you did not dare try them.

Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp, Peppers, Onions, and Spinach with Seasoning-Sauteed in Coconut Oil or Grass-Fed Butter

Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp, Mushrooms, Peppers, Onions, and Spinach with Seasoning-Sauteed in Coconut Oil or Ghee

You most likely will not like everything you try, and some new flavors and textures may take a few times before you really enjoy them. However, the flavors you will experience after you cut out processed foods, sugars, grains, and industrial seed oils will be like nothing you have ever tasted- I PROMISE! I love food now more than everrr.

Tuna Boats, Kale Chips & Fresh Strawberries

Tuna Boats, Kale Chips & Fresh Strawberries

For those of you who crave simplicity and routine there is an easy answer, find 4-14 typical days and eat those in rotation.

For people like me, who get bored easily, you can have 7-14 go to meals; but, then experiment as you like.

There is no “right” way. Whatever works best for you is the best choice.

A New Favorite of Mine-Brussel Sprout "Chips"

A New Favorite of Mine-Brussel Sprout “Chips”

So, while I do not believe that it is possible to give you a typical day in the Whole30 Program, I believe it is possible for you to create your own typical day based on your palate and personal preferences. You can keep it as simple or as complicated as you prefer.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Here are a few examples of what your typical day could look like:

Meal One

2 or 3 Hard Boiled Eggs and Sliced Avocado

Meal Two

Baked Wild-Caught Salmon, Sauteed Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, Zucchini & Peas, Fresh Blueberries

apple sunbutter snackMeal Three*

Sunbutter & Apples

Meal Four

Pork Chops, Baked Sweet Potato with Ghee & Cinnamon, & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

*Many people are not hungry for a snack. If you are hungry eat, if not then don’t.

 

Or it could be full of mouth watering recipes like this:

Meal One

http://whole9life.com/2011/03/stmegg-and-kale-quiche/

Meal Two

http://thehealthyfoodie.com/beef-broccoli-cauli-rice-aka-chinese-fried-rice/

Meal Three*

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1670459416/roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-bacon

Meal Four

http://www.thefoodee.com/recipe/7576/

*Many people are not hungry for a snack. If you are hungry eat, if not then don’t.

Yum Yum Yum! Now I am hungry from looking at all of these recipes, so I am going to go cook. The point of this post is that you can make your menu as simple or as complicated as you want during the Whole30. Just be sure you stick to the rules. If you don’t know what they are read them here: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/

Plantain Chips and Dip

Plantain Chips and Dip

Oh, and if you noticed that I didn’t use labels like “breakfast, lunch and dinner” it is because you should lose these labels. Feel free to have scrambled eggs and bacon (sugar free of-course) for dinner or shrimp fried “rice” for breakfast. It really doesn’t matter! Yay! Brinner it is!

What are some of your Whole30 go to recipes? What are some Whole30 recipes you are wanting to try out?

 

 

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Saturday, while on a radio show promoting Back 2 Basics Cooking’s upcoming Whole30 Challenge, a caller by the name of Karin asked me how she could afford to eat healthy if she was on a very limited income. She is on disability, which if anyone else knows someone who lives off this income, they know that they don’t have any wiggle room when it comes to their budget. I answered her question, but I did not feel like I gave her enough ideas. So this post is for Karin.

During our conversation yesterday, I explained to her that when you are on a very limited income you have to go all in when eating healthy. You simply can’t afford to eat healthy AND eat junk food. Also, if you quit the junk food, you will be amazed as to how long you can go without food. It takes sometime, but your body will adjust.

You are not suppose to feel like you’re starving a few hours after a meal.

I also suggested using some good quality lard. Karen said she cut pork out of her diet, so I suggested getting some beef fat (tallow) from the Columbia Farmers Market and rendering it herself. Rendering your own beef fat is cheap, easy and has great health benefits. Here is a great video about how to do this.

Here are some more tips that I did not get to when speaking to Karin:

  1. Meal Plan Meal planning can save you extra trips to the store, help you avoid impulse buys while there, and keep you from being hungry with no idea of what you are going to eat. Always check out what you already have and try to meal plan around that, especially if it is something that will perish quickly. The less you waste, the more you save. Which leads me to me next tip….
  2. Clean Out Your Refrigerator Often The more you clean out your refrigerator, the less leftovers you are likely to waste. Eating for health can get pretty expensive, so don’t waste any of those nutrient dense foods. I often make what I call “Refrigerator Soup” to help us eat up our leftovers (especially in the winter months).  I got the idea from this amazing book http://www.amazon.com/Long-Way-Little-Companion-Deliciously/dp/0979439124
  3. Buy in Season Vegetables and Fruits Buying things like exotic fruits for example, (I live in Missouri) can add up very quickly. Stick to what is in season and local if you are trying to eat healthy on a slim income.
  4. Utilize Bones and Fat As I mentioned above, you can get high quality animal fat from your local farmers market. You can also get bones. Both animal fat and bones are cheap, so they are a must for anyone trying to eat healthy on a limited income. Animal fat will help to keep you feeling full longer. Use the bones to make bone broth for amazing health benefits and taste. Save your vegetable scraps for added nutrient and flavor. Check out this simple explation of how to make it: https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/71388992/32/
  5. Make Things Yourself Obviously making your food instead of eating out will save money. Making things such as baked apple chips, condiments, larabars, salad dressings, and beef jerky can also save  you tons of money. This is also an great option, because you know exactly what is in your food and how it was prepared.
  6. Keep It Simple You do not have to make a 5 star meal every day. Here is an example of a cheap, yet affordable meal. Example:Can of Wild Caught Salmon Sauteed with Diced Onions, Mushrooms, Peas and Peppers or Hamburgers (No Bun) Topped with Avocado, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, & Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  7. Starchy Vegetables As the title of my blog implies, I do not feed my family grains. Doing so eliminates the filler foods that help stretch your dollar a little farther. Including plenty of starchy vegetables such as sweet and white potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and yucca root for example will help fill you up for less when you don’t have grains as an option.
  8. Participate in a CSA program CSA stands for “community supported agriculture”. At the beginning of the farm season you can purchases shares of the crops. Each week (or whatever is designated) you will be given a box of extremely fresh fruits and vegetables at a price lower than you would get them from the store. Read more and find a local farm to sign up for a CSA here: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
  9. Grow/Raise Your Own Food One sure way to save some money is by planting and growing your own produces & herbs. If you don’t have a yard or the space for a garden you can use pots and window boxes. Here are 10 tips for gardening without a garden: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/gardening-without-a-garden-10-ideas-for-your-patio-or-balcony-renters-solutions-167221 In Columbia, you are allowed to have up to 6 chickens (only hens, no roosters) as long as they are locked up at night, so you could have fresh eggs straight from your yard.
  10. Eggs Farm fresh eggs are an excellent food source. If you buy them directly from the farmer or at the market you will save more (if you don’t raise them yourself). You can make several meals per dozen, so even if you pay $5/dozen at the store, it is still a cheap protein source. Remember to keep your cartons and take them back to be used again.
  11. Buy a Whole or Half Cow/Pig/Lamb Buying a whole or half animal is a great way to save on the price per pound. For someone like Karin, who is on a low fixed income such as disability, this is probably not an option as you must have a lump sum of money to pay for all of this meat ahead of time. However, if you get a decent tax refund, you can use this to fill up your freezer. Lucky for us, that is when our beef guy takes his cows in to be butchered, so it works out perfectly.
  12. Organ Meat I will be perfectly honest in telling you it is taking me some time to get use to liver. Along with being extremely healthy organ meat are also cheap, even for high quality. Try this recipe (my son loves it!) http://hillarystarbright.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/going-paleo-this-is-the-best-liver-recipe-ever/
  13. Go Fishing/Hunting Food sources from the wild are typically an extremely healthy option. My dad brought me some morel mushrooms this year and every time I ate some I felt AMAZING for several hours! Animals in the wild are leaner because they are more active. This is obviously a cheap food source also. If you don’t personally hunt/fish, you may be able to find someone who enjoys it to sell you some at a discounted rate compared to the store/market.

These are just some of the ways you can afford to eat healthy on a limited low income. I hope they have helped you.

What ideas would you add to this list to help others like Karin who want to eat healthier on a low income?