The Potential of a Healthy Diet

When it comes to cleaning up your diet, it is not about perfection, but instead about potential. Potential to minimize or eliminate the symptoms of many chronic illnesses, potential for increased energy, potential to lose unwanted weight and keep it off without starving yourself, potential to add years to your life.

This potential is what motivated me to make a career change and start my business. It is why I run this blog and my webpage. It is why I maintain a Facebook and Instagram account. And it is why I answer dozens of food related questions via e-mail, text, phone, on my sites, and in person every single day.

Bacon Avocado Chicken...I bet this isn't allowed on most "diets". Good thing Paleo is a lifestyle!

Bacon Avocado Chicken…I bet this isn’t allowed on most “diets”. Good thing Paleo is a lifestyle!

It is my hope to help everyone. Not because I am a know it all who wants to take away your pizza; but, because I look around and see diet related health problems everywhere. However, I also understand that many people are in a comfort zone when it comes to food. The thought of stepping out of that comfortable place, even if it means their joints will no longer ache or their diabetes will no longer be an issue or whatever problem could benefit from a diet change, is just too much for them to get started. As I said, I used to be that person, so I completely understand. Food can often times be an addiction, and I believe many more people suffer from this addiction than we are willing to admit.

Take the first step, to getting control back. Don’t be a slave to food any longer. Try a Whole30 or 21 Sugar Detox Diet. Even just 30 days of Paleo eating will help.

Stop drinking diet soda, or soda all together. Stop eating fast food multiple times a week. Stop counting boxed cereal towards your daily fiber intake.

Get educated. Take Control. Start somewhere. It is up to YOU!

Back2BasicsCooking-Final_2

What do you do to keep healthy eating less complicated and more fun?

5 (More) Helpful Things To Have Around During a Whole30 Challenge

I previously wrote a post about 5 things that were helpful to have around during a Whole30 challenge. Since I am in the middle of hosting a Whole30 challenge through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking, I thought I would write another post about helpful things to have around during a challenge. So,here are they are:

1)Lard

LARD

I have been without Lard for a few weeks, because the farmers that I like to purchase Lard from sell them in tub that are around $20 each. While it is large and worth every penny, it can still be hard to afford when on a limited budget. Roast some vegetables in Lard and you will get a small taste of heaven. It is also a cheaper cooking fat than coconut or oil olive.

2)Red Boat Fish Sauce

red boat

Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It is pricey but a little goes along way. I can not even remember what life was like without it. I will be doing some free video demonstrations soon with ways to use this fantastic stuff. Add a little usami to your food today!

3)Cauliflower

Chicken Fried Paleo Rice

Cauliflower rice anyone? Need I say more?

4)Larabars

Beware of certain Larabar flavors, as some of them do not have approved ingredients. Always check your labels!

Beware of certain Larabar flavors, as some of them do not have approved ingredients. Always check your labels!

These bars of fruit and nutty goodness are great emergency foods to keep you from making bad choices when you are hungry and without a plan. However you must be sure not to use them to satisfy a sugar craving, as sugar=sugar=sugar. Even when it is natural sugar.

5)Support

whole30 funny by us

This is one thing that is not just helpful to have around, I believe it is, in almost every case, essential to have. For the majority of people, they need some kind of support to sustain something like the Whole30 for the entire 30 days, especially if this is their first time cleaning up their diet. I myself do not feel as if I would have made it through this Whole30 (I am not done yet, but I can see the light) if I would not have had the support of the group who came together to participate in the program with me. Because while a Whole30 is not hard, it IS hard. The support groups (both on-line and in person) have provided encouragement, meal ideas, some fun and time/money saving tips. It really has been an invaluable resource!

There are so many awesome foods that was difficult to only pick 5. This “diet’ has so many options once you stop focusing on what you can’t have!

What is your favorite thing to have around during a Whole30?

Sweet & Salty Tuna Salad

As some of my readers already know, I have been hosting a Whole30 challenge this month through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking . Many of the participants have stated how much the support has helped them to change their eating habits, but it has also taught me a lot in return! As I said in another post, I have learned tons of awesome whole food recipes. This recipe was inspired by something one of the participants posted. (I am not sure if she wants me to give her name, so if now I am going to leave it out.)

I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for her recipe, so I had to improvise. As is almost always, my improvising was a success!  I discovered another cheap meal that requires no heat for cooking, so it is super quick to throw together. It is also great to take for a lunch since it doesn’t need to be warmed up. I thought I would share my new go to meal with all of my awesome readers.

It is the perfect balance of sweet and salty that has the crunch that you crave, while leaving you satisfied for several hours!

Make sure your tuna doesn't have soy listed as an ingredient.

Make sure your tuna doesn’t have soy listed as an ingredient.

Sweet and Salty Tuna Salad

Serves 1

1 Can of Tuna (Albacore Works Great) in Olive Oil

1 Apple Cut into Chunks

1 Cucumber Cut into Chunks

1 Avocado

1/4 Yellow Onion Diced Small

A Large Pinch of Sea Salt

Mix together and enjoy!

Please note: Wild Planet Tuna is a fantastic, sustainable option; however, when I wrote this blog, we were on a really tight budget. If you use Wild Planet just add 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil.

Yum Yum Yum!

Yum Yum Yum!

What I Have Learned After The 1st Week Of Hosting a Whole30 Challenge

On October 1, 2014, me and 25 other people started out on a Whole30 challenge, which my business Back 2 Basics Cooking is hosting. Even though I have been eating (95%) Paleo since April of this year, this will be the first Whole30 program that I personally have completed, as well as the first time I have hosted a challenge. I put a lot of effort and time into organizing this event, and was worried that no one would sign up or that no one would complete the challenge.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and rasiasns.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and raisins.

While it has given my business some positive exposure, I did not organize this challenge to raise profits. Therefore, it would have been quite the bummer if no one signed up, or if everyone only participated half heartedly. Not only have many of the participants continued to participate, many of them are taking extra time out of their day to help support each other!

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

On top of that, I have been learning a lot myself from hosting the challenge. I am already figuring out ways to make the next challenge more helpful. Considering that about a week before the challenge I was very down and ready to throw in the towel, this is very exciting to me! A few people have dropped out of the challenge, but I am still very happy that they even attempted it. I hope that the time they participated helped open their eyes to how food affects them, which will help them to make more whole food choices in the future. There are even people who have asked to follow the group, so that they can learn more!

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Since we have officially made it through the one week mark, I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post about some of the things participating and hosting this challenge has taught me:

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

1. Support is CRUCIAL for some when it comes to change. I am one of those someones. If I had not put together this challenge I know I would have given up on this already, even though I am 100% aware of how much it will help my health. But it would be kind of messed up of me to give up now though, since I am encouraging everyone else to continue. haha

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

2.I thought that since  I have been grain, soy, dairy (with the exception of grass-fed butter), and food-dye free since April, that I would not have much to learn from participating in the program….silly me! Sugar is a hard habit to kick, and just because you are eating honey instead of table sugar it still doesn’t mean you aren’t still addicted to sugar.

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

3. I need to have my own kitchen by the time I have the next challenge, so that I can have the support meetings there. Then I could give small demonstrations also. I also want to have a meeting either the day before or the first day of the next challenge. My sister was in from Canada and I had to take her to the airport in KC on Oct 1, so that just wasn’t an option this time.

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

4.Having a support group on Facebook, has really helped some of us out. For example, I was not aware that we couldn’t have any extracts on this program (even though I am the “leader”), but because of the facebook group I was able to find out before we were too far in. Others have thought they needed to be low carb, but I was able to explain that isn’t necessary. You CAN be low carb, but you do not have to be. Simply eat the RIGHT carbs. It has also helped out with people asking me the same questions. This way I can just refer them to the post instead of saying the same thing over and over.

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

5.Being able to share recipes and meal ideas is also great! I would have never thought to put apples, tuna, and cucumbers together on my own. Someone else shared the idea so I gave it a shot and wow!  I was already aware of what a wide range of meals and snacks would be available, I talked about it in this post. But I believe sharing ideas with each other has helped to speed up everyone’s learning curve. As you can see by all of the food pictures that I took from our Facebook group, we haven’t had a shortage of meal ideas. 🙂

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

6.Food can be very addictive and we should not downplay that. In my opinion, it is like a drug for many of us and should be treated as such. (Only drugs don’t line the shelves of every gas station and grocery store around!)

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

7.People are noticing how much better they are feeling, how they are staying full longer, and how amazing whole foods taste when you clean up your body much faster than I had anticipated. This is awesome to me!

Hamburger with greeen beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

Hamburger with green beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

For all of my Whole 30ers who are reading this: Please take a moment and comment below. Give a short explanation of how the first week has went for you. what you have learned and why you are continuing with the challenge. It is ok to add the good and the bad. I am hoping to help motivate others to start eating more whole foods and your feedback will help tons!

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

(If you are not part of our challenge, but have completed a Whole30 Program before, please feel free to comment as well.)

Frozen Grapes

Frozen Grapes