Meal Prep

Every weekend I take half a day out of my schedule to meal prep. I don’t just prep – I cook pretty much everything that we will eat for the next week. It is one of the the best decisions I have ever made. My weeknights are so easy, and work lunches are already to go. Everything just needs to be combined and reheated.

I don’t make the food and put it into predetermined meal containers. Instead I make a variety of food and choose what I feel like when meal time comes around.

I start with planningimg_9815. I take out a couple cookbooks and flip through looking for inspiration. When I find things I want to make I write the cookbook, page number and dish on top of a white piece of paper. I then split the paper in two and on the bottom half I make 4 categories; meat, veg, fruit, other. This is my grocery list – I add the ingredients from recipes that I have decided to make to the part of the list that makes sense. There is an example to the right – I am sorry its all creased and dirty, but I take this list into the kitchen with me when I am cooking and cross off things as they get made. I love this part of the planning process, it gets me all excited about the week ahead!!

I aim to make 3-4 proteins, 1 casserole kind of dish, 1-2 starches, 1-2 snacks, 4-5 veggies and 1-3 sauces.

This week I made:

  • Protein: salmon, crispy chicken thighs, slow cooker pork
  • Casserole: beef chili
  • Starch: roasted butternut squash mash and I have some baby sweet potatoes on hand to make into sweet potato fries, which are not so god reheated.
  • Snack: lemon fat bombs and pre- cut up mixed veggies
  • Veggies: roasted brussel sprouts, buffalo cauliflower, sauteed kale, roasted carrot and parsnip hash, and crispy green beans
  • Sauces: tzatziki and buffalo sauce

The idea is that there is enough variety that I won’t get bored, because I can mix and match the proteins and veggies. I also try and make things I think will reheat well. I typically reheat everything in a cast iron frying pan with a little duck fat.

Warning…when you meal prep your kitchen will explode. See below. Also I live in a 450 sq ft home, so my kitchen is pretty friggen tiny. The disaster usually takes over half the living room as well. Just be prepared. Or if possible make a deal with someone else living in your house that if you cook they clean.

 

But in the end it is worth itimg_9823. I mean look how full that fridge is – it doesn’t get better than that. I am grateful everyday when I open this fridge and have so many nutritious and delicious foods to choose from. Yes okay my fridge is a bit of a mess, but this is just a honest peek into my life.

 

 

Advertisements

Casserole is where its at

I know its Monday – but casserole could dramatically improve your Monday, for very little work.

One of my favourite cookbooks is Fed and Fit by Cassy Joy Garcia – and she has a whole casserole section. She completely inspired me to jump on the casserole bandwagon, I mean they are a beautiful thing, easy and you have leftover for DAYS. Can it get better than that?

I had a fantastic Saturday cooking brunch with some girlfriends, drinking rocket fuel lattes and eating. By the time I got home it was later than I planned and we had basically zero groceries and no time to get some before dinner needed to be ready (we were heading out after dinner). I set my husband a panicked text and he ran out and met me at home with chorizo sausages and two sweet potatoes. The fridge consisted of bone broth, paleo mayo, eggs, duck fat, 1/2 a red onion and some sad parsley ….not exactly a complete meal. There was some frozen organic spinach in the freezer. I always have secret frozen veggies in the freezer for days like this. So I decided to do my best to whip up a casserole – because just eating a sausage with spinach on the side just was not appealing to me.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Paleo Sweet Potato Chorizo Ranch Casserole 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes, shredded
  • one bag frozen organic spinach
  • 4 chorizo sausages
  • 3 tblsp paleo mayo
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • fat of choice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375
  2. Melt the fat in a cast iron, oven safe pan and saute the onion, once it is translucent add and saute the shredded sweet potato
  3. While the sweet potato is cooking remove the casings from the sausage – my tip for doing this is cutting off the little end where its sealed and cut up the middle of the casing with scissors and then just peel it off.
  4. Crumble the sausage into the sweet potato
  5. Continue to saute until the sausage is cooked
  6. Pour in all the spinach
  7. Stir – while this is cooking mix the three eggs, the mayo, lemon juice and dill in a small ball, mix vigorously with a fork until they are mostly combined
  8. Turn the stove off and add the mayo/egg mixture
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste
  10. Stir to combine and pop into the oven
  11. Bake for 20-30 mins – or until the eggs are set.
  12. Enjoy!!

I put my husbands on top of some leftover rice and broccoli and mine on top of some leftover broccoli and topped with kraut. And the best part is we have at least two more meals out of this, and one dish. Score.

Happy Monday.

Make a casserole. You won’t regret it.

You could also make this one by Paleomg – its divine. Or this one by Fed and Fit. Can’t go wrong.

 

 

Building a Primal Meal

When people find out what I don’t eat they usually laugh and say something like “what the heck do you eat”….

This is totally not how I look at my lifestyle, I look at the abundance of whole foods that I enjoy eating and that make me feel fantastic. Grains of all kinds give me massive migraines and puts my digestive system into major distress (oh yeah and makes my scalp bleed, yikes), dairy gives me tension headaches and affects my skin, sugar makes me feel hungover, highly processed and refined vegetables oils make me feel sluggish and just plain gross. Eggs in large doses also don’t make we feel great so I try and keep those to a minimum. I also avoid caffeinated coffee for the most part just because it works for me.

The  common thread to everything I just said is that I eat what works for me!! There are some foods we should all avoid because of the way they affect our bodies, check out some resources and more info in the nutrition section. But otherwise eating is about becoming tuned into your body, and listening to how you feel after eating something. If you feel like crap the simple answer is don’t eat that thing. (The more complicated answer is maybe you have leaky gut and that one  particular food is seen as a foreign invader by your body and so an immune response is triggered every time you eat that food, even if its a healthful food. So maybe you need to avoid a certain food for some time while you heal your gut and then you can eat it again.) But anyway since I get asked so often what the heck I eat I want to explain how I go about building a paleo plate.

I usually meal prep on Sundays which makes putting together a week night meal real simple. I promise to document this weeks meal prep and put a post together.

I start with pulling out the protein I want. Last night it was salmon cakes. One of my favourite and also a super cost effective ways to eat salmon. Fresh wild salmon is $$$ – but this oily cold water fish is oh so good for you – so I often buy canned wild salmon. The brands I like are Wild Planet and RainCoast.  Salmon cakes are super easy, and you can tweak the spice profile depending on your mood.

Basic Salmon Cakes

  • 2 cans wild salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tblsp coconut flour or arrowroot starch
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste

Add ins

  • green onion
  • 1 tsp paleo mayo
  • canned pumpkin (sounds weird but is amazing and about 1/4 cup can replace the eggs if you are AIP)
  • paprika
  • chipotle powder
  • chives
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • really whatever spice your heart desires. My fav combos come from the Primal Palate spice blends (meat n’ potatoes and BBQ)

Mix together in a bowl, form into balls, flatten, and fry in your fav cooking fat, mine is duck fat.

Okay so back to putting together my dinner, I put some duck fat in a pan and put my protein in to heat up and re-crisp up. The trick to making re-heated food amazing is fat, lots of fat, and by frying or baking it NOT microwaving. I then pull out the veggies I want from my fridge. Last night is was roasted brussel sprouts (roasted in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 mins on a stoneware baking sheet, with 1 tblsp melted duck fat poured over top and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and granulated onion). I added these to the pan with the salmon cakes to reheat. Then I pulled out some leftover roasted sweet potato and cut into slices. I decided to get crazy and heated 2 pieces of chopped bacon in a separate frying pan – once crispy I added the leftover sweet potatoes and cooked those.

While everything was cooking I put a cup of baby greens in the bottom of my bowl – when the sweet potato and bacon was done I put that on top of the greens and voila wilted baby greens. Everything else went in the bowl and got topped with some kraut. I friggen love sauerkraut. And DONE. Weeknight dinner put together in 10 mins. I know I cheated by having the components cooked already – but I would highly recommend that to everyone. Meal prep gives me the chance to enjoy my evenings and not feel like I am rushing around trying to make dinner. It also means less weeknight dishes!!!!! Which in itself make it totally worth it.

So to put together your own paleo plate you need: fat, protein, lots and lots of veggies (I try and include some leafy greens of some kind in most meals), and if you want/ are active/ are a woman a little bit of starchy veggies (like sweet potato, winter squash, beets, carrots, plantains). And I highly recommend using kraut as a kind of condiment to add an extra dimension to your meals. See look at all that food I can and LOVE eating.

img_9764

 

 

 

 

 

My Story

We all start somewhere, and in order to help you understand why I am becoming a Primal Health Coach and a holistic nutritionist I have to explain where I started.
It all started in the summer of 2013 when I stepped on a scale and found out that I weighed 185 pounds, mind you I am 5″9,but let me tell you I wasn’t happy. My then boyfriend, now husband, is 6″3, and weighed 182 pounds. Not good; I decided enough was enough and I was going to change. I’m going to be real honest here and admit that the way I looked and how much I weighed is what motivated me to change; but it is not what has sustained me.

In 2013 I had been a vegetarian for 16 years. All these excessive starchy carbs and starchy vegetarian proteins, and lack of animal proteins and fats wrecked havoc on my body.

When I decided to change I didn’t know anything about nutrition so I went with a pretty standard low fat vegetarian diet and really focused on my exercise. I had some success, but not enough. In 2014 I decided to follow a serious 4 week re-set diet, this diet required a lot of lean, non starchy proteins, and I broke. I ate my first chicken breast in 16 years. My husband reckons this was the best day of his life. I reckon that this day saved my life. Now this diet was calorie restrictive and detrimental, but it got me eating REAL animal protein, so for that I owe it my health. The craziest part was after 16 years as a vegetarian I did not get sick once from reintroducing meat. In fact I could practically feel my body thanking me. My body needed that protein so badly it could barely contain its joy. I felt pretty darn great and was really getting into workouts, everything was going well…

…Until it wasn’t. I had daily headaches, daily digestive issues and skin problems. I was tired and maybe even a little foggy – or at least more forgetful than I usually was. From here I dabbled in elimination diets and realized gluten was probably my problem. I would stop eating gluten for a period of time, get made fun of by my friends and then go back to eating gluten. I never really took it seriously. I also tried all kinds of diets from ten almonds as my only snack, to eating only green veggies and chicken breasts, to veganism. The thing is I wanted to be skinny, I didn’t want to be healthy, I just wanted to have a flat tummy. I feel like a lot of us feel this way- but I’ll be honest and tell you it’s not enough. It is not a sustainable way to look at your body and it certainly won’t get you the results you want. Nor did I start seeing the results I wanted until I started caring how I felt instead of how I looked.

How did I snap out of it? Enter the summer of 2016; I accidentally stumbled upon Robb Wolf’s book: “The Paleo Solution”. Reading it was like a wholly shit moment for me.

Summer 2016 I dove headfirst into the paleo movement. I realized I feel awful eating grains, sugar and dairy. I realized that my health is so much more important than having a flat tummy. I did lose weight and get stronger, but as a consequence of healing my body not dieting. I am now 40 pounds lighter but I hardly even care – what I care about is how I feel and my ability to move and interact with my life.  I found an awesome crossfit community that makes me so thankful for my body and the amazing things it can do for me. I found an incredible paleo community both on and off line and am still learning and self experimenting so that I can be my best, strongest, healthiest and happiest self.

This blog is going to be my forum to share my paleo journey and self experimentation, my journey back to school to become a certified holistic nutritionist and primal health coach, and to hopefully help anyone who has ever felt like me to embrace a new holistic perspective about your health.

 

IMG_7433
2013  vs. 2016